William & Mary's Stites Named Southeast Region Athlete of the Year
Stites is the first woman in team history to win rgional Athlete of the Year honors, after she also became the first women's harrier to win the region individual championship last Friday in Charlottesville. Her winning time of 19:57.5 was more than 10 seconds ahead of second place, and broke the course record of 20:13 set by NCAA Champion and Olympian Sheila Reid of Villanova in 2009. Earlier this season, Stites was the runner-up at the CAA Championships and at the season-opening Spider Alumni Open, as well as third at the Panorama Farms Invitational and eighth at Pre-Nationals.
Stites is the fourth Tribe athlete to win a cross country regional/district meet and third to be named Athlete of the Year, and the first woman to accomplish either feat. Previous W&M winners include Howell Michael '71, 1969 Region III champion, Matt Lane '01 who won the Southeast Region in 1997 and 1999, and Sean Graham '03, the Southeast champion in 2001. Both Lane and Graham were also named Region Runner of the Year.
No. 18-ranked William and Mary will take its shot at the NCAA Championships this Saturday, Nov. 23, in Terre Haute, Ind. The race will begin at 1:15 p.m. Eastern, and can be seen live on NCAA.com.