CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia Commonwealth University men's and women's cross country teams kicked off the 2011 campaign at the Lou Onesty Open hosted by the University of Virginia.

"I saw some good things today from a number of returning student-athletes on the men's and women's side, plus some of the freshman really stepped it up today," said VCU Head Coach Nicole Cooke. "This was a very good start to the season and I only can only see us getting better from here."

The VCU women's cross country team placed fourth out of six teams, as the team captured 105 points. The University of Virginia won the event with 15 points, followed by Ohio Northern University (58 points) and Radford University (98). Lynchburg College (117) and Norfolk State University (167) closed out the competition.

Sophomore Hailey Scheren was the top finisher for the Rams on the women's side, as she finished in 11th place in a time of 19:45.70. Senior Nicole Waters finished shortly behind with a time of 20:33.50. Freshman Niema Eaves started off her collegiate career on the right track, with a 30th place finish.

The VCU men collected a fifth place finish out of seven teams as the team garnered 114 points. Georgetown University (20 points) won the event, followed by University of Virginia (72), Norfolk State University (73) and Ohio Northern University (110). Radford University (161) and Lynchburg College (189) closed out the field.

Junior Brendin Leavitt was the top runner for the VCU men, as he finished in 10th place with a time of 26:17.50. Senior John Vial and freshman Khalid Khamis were the next two VCU runners to cross the finish line; the two crossed in 27:04.00 and 27:32.30, respectively. Freshman Matt Earman put in an impressive performance in his collegiate debut, running in at a time of 28:22.70.

The Rams are scheduled to travel to Greensboro, N.C., on Sept. 29th for the Hagan Stone Park Invitational.