WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Navy men's cross country team claimed the top four spots and placed seven runners in the top 10 to cruise to a 17-43 victory over Army at the West Point Golf Course in the annual Star Meet as part of the overall Army-Navy Star Series presented by USAA.
Murphy Smith was the individual winner in the 8K race with Alexander Kirkland, Sam Keeny and Luke Nester finishing in order second through fourth for the Midshipmen.
The score ties for the lowest for the Midshipmen against Army under head coach Aaron Lanzel (Navy defeated Army 17-46 in 2021). The 17 points was the second-lowest team score of the season for the Midshipmen, just two points back of the 15 points scored during the Navy Invitational.
Through the first 450m, the home team held a decisive 17-44 lead, holding eight of the top 10 spots in the race. At the 3K checkmark, Navy took a 24-35 advantage, moving seven runners into the top 10 to overtake the lead by trimming 20 points off of its team total. Through 5.2K, the Midshipmen cut their total points down to 18, taking the top three spots and four of the top 5 positions in the race. Navy closed out the race with seven of the top 10 finishers, including holding the top four spots to post a total team victory.
Smith continued his strong junior season, earning the victory with a time of 23:59.8. The time was just a half a second shy of his top 8K performance of the season at the Paul Short Run (23:59.3) where he finished second out of 393d competitors. Smith was 11th through the first checkpoint on the course, but moved up to third through 3K. At the 5.2K marker, the junior had moved into the lead, which he did not relinquish.
Kirkland clocked a season-best time of 24:15.6 to come in second, while Keeny, the senior team captain, was third with a time of 24:18.9 – his top time of year. Nester closed out the top 4 sweep for the Midshipmen with a time of 24:22.7, trimming roughly 20 seconds off his season-best time (24:43.5).
Sam Moultrie completed Navy's top-5 scorers, finishing seventh overall with a time of 24:39.8, while Justin Mumford (24:40.8) and Matt Newell 24:52.1) rounded out the Mids' top seven competitors with an eighth- and 10th-place finish, respectively.