It was the second consecutive cross-country victory for the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate and the second consecutive time its team captain, Colin Cronin, was the first runner to cross the finish line.
“It’s a great race,” Cronin said after he and teammates Shelton Williams, Jacob Shaffer and Takeo Spikes claimed the Commander’s Cup 5K championship trophy Oct. 11 at Piney Valley Golf Course.
Five teams took part in the annual Commander’s Cup race, which was the first event to count toward the 2019 Commander’s Cup points race.
The OSJA team won with a combined average time of 19 minutes, 33 seconds, led by Cronin who crossed the finish line in 17:42. It was 20 seconds slower than his performance last year, but still nearly two minutes ahead of the next-closest competitor — Williams — who finished in 19:27.
“My legs are going to feel like toast tonight,” Williams said. “I basically knew Capt. Cronin was going to finish first, so I just told myself I was going to follow after him.”
Runners enjoyed an afternoon of sunny skies and cool, dry fall weather, with temperatures around 60 degrees.
“The weather was great; the competition was great,” Cronin said.
Taking second place with an average time of 21:36 was the 515th Engineer Company team of Andrew Myers, James Chunn, Ruston Augustine and Joseph Mora. The team received a second-place trophy for their efforts, something not seen on Fort Leonard Wood in recent memory.
Chief of Sports Coleman Swinton said he planned to award second-place trophies for Commander’s Cup events this year after receiving several requests from teams
“We had several teams from last year and previous years request having first-, second- and third-place team trophies for Commander’s Cup competitions,” Swinton said. “For many years, only the first-place team has received a trophy, so some teams felt left out, especially after the hard work they put into those competitions. So, I talked to my chain of command about it, and they blessed off on it. So, that’s what we’re doing.”
Taking third place in this year’s race was the 31st Engineer Battalion team of Jeff O’Loughlin, Thomas Risi, Joe Maxwell and Jordan Worley, which finished with an average time of 22:08.
The 14th Military Police Brigade team of Derrick Davis, Abhishek Rajbhandari, Guillermo Garcia and Todd Rossbach, took fourth place with an average time of 22:10, and the Medical Department Activity team of Ben Winderlich, Maxwell Dogbey, DaVon Siripet and Jake Serrano, took fifth, turning in an average of 22:46.
Later, Swinton said that he hopes the Sports Department will eventually be able to award trophies for third place finishers, as well.
“We’re looking at doing that in the future — possibly in 2020, we’ll be able to do that,” Swinton said. “We hope this will result in more participation, and also, once the events are over, we would like the teams to hang around more and congratulate the teams that win. Right now, there’s not really an incentive for them to do that, and a lot of (athletes) will leave once the event is over because they know they won’t be getting anything.”