Grandon Smith Claims NAC Runner of the Year

Grandon Smith Claims NAC Runner of the Year

CASTLETON, Vt. – In the midst of his best career season, Grandon Smith of the Castleton University men's cross country team has been named North Atlantic Conference Runner of the Year.

Smith got off to a strong start with back-to-back first place finishes in the opening two meets of the season and only continued to solidify his elite status as the season went on. The junior has recorded five top threes over the first six weeks of the season, including capturing a NAC Championship.  

Smith followed two consecutive wins in the Southern Vermont and Castleton meets with a 34th place finish in the UMass-Dartmouth Invitational, trading places with some of the top competitors from Divisions I, II, and III in the 242-runner, 8K race.

The Newtown, Conn. native used that momentum to take back-to-back third place finishes in the Vermont State Meet and Western New England Invitational over the next two races. In a pair of eight-kilometer meets featuring top competition from the New England region, Smith led his team to 4th and 12th-place finishes in the two meets, respectively.

Proving to only get stronger as the season endured, Smith followed the third place finishes with his first career NAC Championship title at Johnson State. After taking second in the conference championship last year, Smith surged to the front this this season and never looked back, finishing with a time of 26:22 and leading the second place runner to the finish line by seven seconds. Smith, leading the team to four top four finishes this season, has also been named NAC Runner of the Week four times in 2016. 

Jonah Lavigne was also named to the 2016 NAC Sportsmanship Team, demonstrating sportsmanship and ethical behavior throughout the season for Castleton. The honorees selected to the Sportsmanship team are those who have positively affected the sport culture and environment and whose behavior clearly demonstrates sportsmanship and integrity.

Castleton will head to Milton, N.Y. on Saturday for the ECAC Championships at the Hudson Valley Sports Dome.

To view the full NAC All-Conference Awards, click here