CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 Sports) – Competing against some of the best runners in the country, UVA junior distance runner Margot Appleton finished third in the Women's 5K at the Virginia Invitational Saturday morning.

Appleton, who finished with a time of 16:21.5, led the race with 1000 meters to go, but Northern Arizona's Elise Stearns was able to pass her down the home stretch to take the individual title. 

"I was kind of trying to stay as conservative as I could," Appleton said. "I went a little early towards the end. I think I started kicking too early. I kind of died at the end. Still kind of working on my strategy for cross country, hopefully that can improve."

The women's team finished third overall in the meet with senior Anna Workman following Appleton in 19th place (16:45.0) while freshmen Jenny Schilling (16:51.1), senior Caroline Timm (16:55.3) and junior Sophie Atkinson (17:10.6) rounded out the scoring positions for a total of 69 Cavalier points. 

On the men's side, Gary Martin led the Cavaliers to a seventh-place finish as he crossed the line 13th overall. Will Anthony was the second Cavalier to cross the line in 29th place with his time of 23:45.8. Nate Mountain (23:56.2), Jacob Hunter (24:01.5) and Wes Porter (24:14.1) rounded out the scoring positions for Virginia going 41-53-78.

"I think both sides, both the women and the men, did a great job," UVA cross country/track coach said. "I think it's always good to get one of these under your belts, so you know what to expect as you approach the championship portion of the season. We always say we're gonna take half the season up till this point and start getting ready for the championship, so it's a good start."

Both teams are back on the course on Oct. 14 where they'll host the XC23 Pre-Nationals at Panorama Farms at 8:45 a.m.