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Navy Wins Men's Cross Country Star

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy men's cross country team repeated Star champions over Army on Saturday morning as the host squad used a victory by team captain Julian Perez (Sr., Beaumont, Texas) and a sweep of the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh positions to earn a 23-34 win at the USNA Cross Country Course. Racing on a 4.9-mile trail, the Mids' depth was key throughout the contest as their top-seven runners held spots within the top-10 for most of the event.
Part of the top pack at the first checkpoint, Perez made his move prior to the second marker as he crossed 20-plus seconds ahead of the field before cruising across the finish line with a time of 24:02.33 and no competitors in sight. Army's Marshall Beatty came in 11.48 seconds behind at 24:13.81.
After the Black Knights' Daniel Mazzei placed third, the Mids' junior quartet of Grant Van Valkenburg (Duvall, Wash.), Ashwin Briggs (Pickerington, Ohio), Luke Murphy (Tulsa, Okla.) and Miguel Mathias (Nekoosa, Wisc.) clinched the victory as they all finished consecutively. The first three Mids completed the race within four seconds of each other as Van Valkenburg clocked in at 24:30.83, while Briggs was fifth at 24:34.50. Murphy ended up sixth at 24:34.91 ahead of Mathias in seventh with a time of 24:42.95.
With the victory already decided, Garrison Clark (So., Severna Park, Md.) made it seven Mids in the top-10 as he posted a 24:58.16 time. His teammates John Bowers (Jr., Ponte Verda Beach, Fla.) and Brett Brady (So., Phoenix, Ariz.) finished less than 0.3 seconds behind at 24:58.33 and 24:58.38.
"We're really pleased with today's result," remarked head coach Aaron Lanzel. "Julian was consistent and has developed his way to be a legitimate contender. Our juniors were the solid block that left no doubt. Grant and Ashwin jumped up a little further this season. Miguel and Luke were as dependable as the sun rising this season. Nothing has been ideal for these guys this season, but the whole team has remained ready and eager to toe the line every competition."
All-time, Navy leads the service academy rivalry over Army, 51-31-1.
The Mids will conclude their 2020 fall season with a tri-meet at West Point on November 11 as they will race against the Black Knights and Air Force Falcons.