Lions advance to NCAA Championship Tourney

With the sun shining and no rain in sight, the College’s men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Mt. Morris, N.Y., to compete in the NCAA Division III Regional Championship on Saturday. The women’s team took second place out of 30 teams, and the men grabbed fourth place out of 34.

The women nabbed the second-place spot in the 6,000-meter race with 80 points, falling only 34 points behind the host and No. 1 team in Division III, SUNY-Geneseo.

Helping pull the Lions into their second-place seat was senior Jenna Fasulo, crossing the finish line in 12th place with a time of 23:01. Following Fasulo was sophomore Martine McGrath, who seized 13th place with a time of 23:02.7.

“We accomplished everything we wanted to achieve,” Fasulo said. “We were confident going into the race.”

Sophomore Megan O’Leary, senior Jenna Prendergast and junior Erin Enderly took 15th in 23:06.9, 18th with a time of 23:12.8 and 22nd in 23:23.8, respectively, putting all of the Lions’ top scorers within the top 25. The women’s team earned an automatic place in the Nov. 18 NCAA Division III Championships.

“This race was very good for us as a team,” McGrath said. “We knew what we wanted to accomplish, with our end goal of course being to qualify for nationals. All in all, we are looking forward to next weekend’s race, with hopes of finishing in the top five.”

The men managed to capture the No. 4 spot in their race with a point total of 105, trailing behind Rochester Institute of Technology with 102 points, SUNY-Cortland with 73 points and New York University, which came in first place with 67 points.

Sophmore Chris Guerriero was able to secure fourth place with a time of 25:42.7, making him the No. 1 placer on the College’s team. Following him was junior Brian Kopnicki, who grabbed the 12th spot with a time of 26:02.1.

Both Guerriero and Kopnicki solidified their appearances in next week’s NCAA championship race with their individual finishes.

Coming in after Kopnicki and Guerriero were sophomore Greg Bull, with a time of 26:23.1 and senior Greg Howe with a time of 26:42.3. Bull and Howe placed 20th and 33rd, respectively, out of 230 runners.

“We didn’t run as well as we had hoped,” Bull said. “A few of our guys ran slower than they are capable of.”

Although the women secured an automatic seat in next week’s finals last Saturday, the men’s team had to wait until Sunday to find out that it received an at-large bid from the NCAA to attend next week’s meet.

“The important thing is realizing what we need to improve on and fixing it for next week’s national meet,” Kopnicki said. “So, closing the gaps between our runners is one of the things that we need to really concentrate on for next week.”

The NCAA Division III championships will be held on Nov. 18 at Wilmington College at 11 a.m.