Johnson, Vt. – The Castleton men's cross country program, powered by Grandon Smith's first place finish, earned a third place team finish in the eight-kilometer North Atlantic Conference Championship on Saturday afternoon, hosted by Johnson State College.
The third place team finish was the highest ranking Castleton has reached in the NAC Championship meet since the 2013 sseason when the Spartans also earned a third place finish.
Smith paced the field of 101 runners to the finish line with an impressive time of 26:22 overall, picking up his first career NAC Championship win. Smith was on the verge last season with a second place finish, but left no doubt this year as the junior led the second place runner by a steady seven seconds.
Jonah Lavigne came next for Castleton, placing 18th overall with a time of 28:53. Lavigne has now recorded four top-25 finishes in just six meets so far in the 2016 season.
Kyle Dash continued an impressive freshman season, following closely behind in 21st place with a time of 29:14, while Jared Wheeler and Patrick Gilligan rounded out the top five for Castleton with back-to-back finishes in 27th and 28th place overall, respectively.
Collectively, Castleton finished with 88 points on the afternoon, falling short of second place UMaine-Farmington by just one point. Colby-Sawyer earned the victory in the meet with five runners finishing in the top ten.
Thomas (128) and Maine Maritime (141) rounded out the top five with fourth and fifth place finishes, respectively.
Castleton will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 5 for the ECAC Championships at the Hudson Valley Sports Dome in Milton, N.Y.