WILMINGTON, N.C. – The saying goes "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." That's exactly the thought process of the Virginia Commonwealth University women's cross country team, who faced yet another dose of adversity at the CAA Championships this past weekend.

Running without their top runner all year, junior Hayley Sullivan, the Rams relied on a bevy of underclassmen en route to a ninth-place finish at the championships, held on the campus of UNC Wilmington.

"I'm proud of the way my girls continue to take everything in stride," Director of Cross Country Nicole Cook said. "We've been hit with a ton of adversity this year, from injuries to not getting a chance to warm up to facing fields we've never seen before. Never once did this group back down from the challenge and that's what makes me so excited about our future."

Junior Nicole Walters and freshman Caitlin Hoffman were the leaders of the Black & Gold attack over the weekend finishing in 52nd and 53rd place, posting times of 23:25 and 23:28, respectively, over the six-kilometer course. Hoffman's time was a personal best for the youngster.

Freshman Hailey Scheren was the third Ram to finish, clocking in at 23:39, followed by a personal best from sophomore Hannah Leffew, who broke the tape in 23:49.

Junior Heather DelaCruz wrapped up the scorers for VCU, finishing 70th overall in a time of 23:57. Freshman Ariel McGuire clocked in at 24:53, a new personal best for the newcomer.

The Rams will return every runner next year in hopes to continue to climb up the CAA cross country ranks.

Final Team Standings
1) James Madison           28
2) William & Mary            46
3) George Mason            102
4) Northeastern              114
5) Towson                       122
6) UNC Wilmington          141
7) Delaware                    182
8) Georgia State             183
9) VCU                            273
10) Hofstra                     302