A member of the Queens University of Charlotte’s women’s cross-country team brought back the team’s first individual title, and the Royals’ men’s team qualified for the NCAA Division II national championships during the NCAA Southeast Regional meet, held Nov. 22 in Montevallo, Ala.
Junior Catie Byrd and senior Megan Wright led a 1-2 Queens finish at the meet. Byrd won the Royals’ first regional title, completing the 6-kilometer course in 21 minutes, 56.98 seconds.
Wright finished second, nearly 21 seconds behind Byrd in 22:17.92 to qualified for the NCAA Division II nationals, scheduled Dec. 6 in Louisville, Ky. They are the first Queens runners to qualify for the nationals since Mathilde Timboni raced in 2012.
“Both Catie and Megan ran impressively today,” Jim Vahrenkamp, Queens’ director of cross-country and track and field, said in a prepared release. “From the very beginning, they went straight to the front of the pack and controlled the race from the outset.
“I’m really excited to watch them work together at the national meet, with the intent of finishing in the top 40 to capture All-American honors.”
Meanwhile, the Royals’ men qualified as a team for the nationals by finishing third in the regional standings, the first time they have advanced to the Division II national meet since 2011.
Queens scored 120 points, edging King University (Tenn.) by three points for the final qualifying spot. Mars Hill, also a member of the South Atlantic Conference, won the regional title with 76 points, with Mount Olive second at 94 points.
Sophomore Jimmy Hollingsworth led the Royals with an eighth-place individual finish, completing the 8-kilometer race in 32:45.69. Senior Felix Duchampt was 14th in 33:12.53.
Other Queens runners finishing the men’s race were freshman Adrien Barral (25th, 33:49.58), freshman Victor Moreau (37th, 34:22.77), senior Chris Vilela (41st, 34:30.28), freshman Avery Cypress (67th, 35:12.93) and sophomore Alex Guillaume (99th, 36:08.26).
Hollingsworth, Duchampt and Barral all made the All-Southeast Regional team.
“Our men’s program continues to make progress,” Vahrenkamp said. “It’s hard to remember that just two years ago, Chris was the only member of the team. I promised him that if he would redshirt, that our staff would give him a team to run with. Today, his performance pushed us over the hump and on to the nationals.”
Byrd and Wright led the Royals’ women to a fourth-place finish in the team standings with 165 points, just one position away from qualifying as a team for the NCAA nationals. Host-team Montevallo won the regional team title with 60 points, with North Georgia (90 points) and Wingate (91 points) also qualifying for the nationals.
Other Queens runners at the regional meet were sophomore Megan Delamer (49th, 24:29.18), freshman Carissa Jenkins (53rd, 24:31.97), sophomore Summer McFadden (69th, 24:55.55) and sophomore Audrey Sizemore (120th, 26:20.27).
“They (men and women) improved greatly on their ninth-place finishes last year,” Vahrenkamp said. “I’m grateful for the sacrifice that they have made this fall. They’ve each put in many hours early in the morning and more miles than I can count on the various trails and parks in Charlotte. Seeing that work come to fruition is incredibly gratifying.”
All-SAC women’s soccer
Three players from Queens’ women’s soccer team were named to the All-South Atlantic Conference teams and the Royals were named the winner of its Fair Play Award, league officials announced Nov. 5.
Sophomore midfielder Caitlyn Rodrigues and sophomore defender Ashley Osiecki were named to the All-SAC second team, while sophomore forward Brenna Kate Grass was an honorable mention selection.
Rodrigues earned All-SAC honors for the second time, scoring three goals and adding two assists in 19 games for the Royals. She was tied for the team lead in total points (eight), and led in shots attempted (33) and shots on goal (19).
Osiecki, a two-year starter and now two-time All-SAC honoree, had two goals and four assists this season to tie Rodrigues in total points. She also led the team in assists for the second straight year, and played a role in the team’s eight shutout wins.
Grass earned all-conference honors for the first time, scoring three goals this season, all game-winners against Brevard, Catawba and Carson-Newman (Tenn.).
Makhlouf All-SAC honorable mention
Freshman forward Philip Makhlouf was the only member of Queens’ men’s soccer team to earn postseason honors; he was named to an All-South Atlantic Conference honorable mention.
Makhlouf started 12 games for the Royals, scoring five goals to lead the team. He also added an assist and finished with 11 total points.
Sophomore defender Marc-Kevin Schwenk led the SAC in assists per game at 0.56 per game.
Nassi earns national ranking
Freshman Carlotta Nassi has become the first Queens women’s tennis player to earn a national ranking in 13 years, making the top 50 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.
Nassi was ranked 41st in singles in the fall season’s final ITA rankings, released Nov. 10. The last player in the top 50 was in 2001, when Brandi Nottingham was ranked 35th.
Nassi had an strong showing during Queens’ fall season, advancing to the quarterfinals at the ITA Southeast Regionals before having to withdraw. That was her only loss of the fall season.
“I’m pleased for Carlotta’s recognition,” Royals coach Brett Karpman said in a prepared release. “She has had a tremendous fall. She has continued to progress in the offseason, and this should prove to be an exciting spring for Carlotta and the program.”