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Men's Cross Country

Navy Men's Cross Country Cruises to Star Victory

WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. – The Navy men's cross country team led wire-to-wire and finished with seven of the top-eight runners in a dominant show of depth and excellence over Army in the 2021 Men's Cross Country Star Race on Friday. Competing on a 7.6k course at Bowdoin Park, the Mids received standout performances from throughout its lineup and earned a 17-46 victory over their rivals, the Black Knights. 

Brett Brady led Navy's individual effort as the junior earned a 2.3-second victory over his classmate Garrison Clark.

"This is a well deserved win for some really resilient guys," remarked head coach Aaron Lanzel. "Many of our guys fought back from a rough race a few weeks ago to become fearless competitors today. Brett went from the gun to make the temperature seem 10 degrees hotter for the whole race. Garrison knew he was going to be up there today as well. Sam ran smart throughout the race to secure a top-three finish. David couldn't bend his knee for a few days after falling last race and he brought himself back to close down hard today when the race got tough with Ashwin, Mitchell and Miguel. We still have some things that the guys are looking to improve upon, but this is a great validation for their resilience and capabilities." 
Invigorated by Navy's win in the earlier women's race, the men's squad broke out to an early 26-29 lead through the first 1.6k of the competition. Midshipmen and Black Knight runners alternated each of the first six positions at this early checkpoint with Brady, Clark and Miguel Mathias (Sr., Nekoosa, Wisc.) clocking in first, third and fifth with respective times of 4:39.5, 4:45.6 and 4:45.7. Brady was nearly six seconds ahead of the field.
That same trio of Navy runners stayed at the front of the action through the next checkpoint, 3.1k. At this marker, Brady was 2.2 seconds ahead of Clark, 9:22.4 to 9:24.6. Army's Marshall Beatty was the next runner through the checkpoint at 9:24.8, just 0.1 seconds ahead of Mathias. The team score for the Mids dropped as Keeny and Mitchell Rome each moved up into the top-eight to give Navy a real-time team total of 22 points versus 33 for Army.
Another 1.8k was conquered by the Mids at Bowdoin Park and the visitors continued increasing their lead over the Black Knights. At the 4.9k marker, Brady, Clark and Mathias were separated in spots first, second and third by 2.9 seconds as Brady once again clocked in first. The junior's leading time at this checkpoint was 15:21.4. To round out the Mids' scoring lineup, a two-position move up the standings by Keeny into fifth, while Rome stayed steady in eighth place dropped Navy's team total to 19 points and added three to Army's ledger.
Senior David Nelsen entered the conversation as Navy's fifth scorer with a strong next leg of the race. At the 6.4k checkpoint Nelsen had overtaken Mathias and moved into seventh place with a time of 20:31.7. While Mathias dropped slightly down the standings, Keeny continued his ascent up through the field as he settled into third place behind Brady and Clark. Brady's leading time after 6.4k was 20:07.8, 1.9 seconds ahead of Clark's 20:09.7. Rome moved into fifth place at this junction with a split time of 20:30.0. Navy had increased its lead to 24 points, 18-42 with all of these moves.
Down the stretch with just 1.2k to go, Brady and Clark sprinted away from the field as the juniors went one-two with times of 23:40.1 and 23:42.3, respectively. Racing in his first Army-Navy Star Meet, Keeny clocked in third with a 23:49.6 result. Following Army's Matthew Porter's fourth-place finish at 23:54.3, Navy solidified its third straight Star win over Army with moves up the standings by Nelsen and team captain Ashwin Briggs as Nelsen took two positions over the final sector of the race to finish fifth and Briggs netted four points to place sixth. Nelsen's time for the 7.6k race was 24:03.4, while Briggs recorded a 24:12.1 time. Briggs' split over the final 1.2k was best in the field at 3:30.0. Those moves by Navy's seniors locked in the team scoring at 17-46 in favor of the visitors.
Rome and Mathias made it seven Midshipmen in the top-eight as the pair finished back-to-back with a times of 24:13.9 and 24:16.4, respectively.
Friday's victory increases Navy's lead in the all-time series for men's cross country to 52-31-1.
In conjunction with Navy's win in the women's cross country race earlier in the day, the Naval Academy holds a 5-1 advantage over Army in the 2021-22 Star Series presented by USAA through six events.