Tecco, Guerriero lead teams to victory

Despite harsh weather conditions on Saturday, both the College’s men’s and women’s cross country teams brought home 2007 New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship titles.

According to head coach Phil Jennings, the meet, which was held at Richard Stockton College, could not have gone any better.

“The team did what they needed to do,” he said. “The victories were not a surprise. They were expected.”

The women’s team won its 13th straight NJAC championship and 24th league crown. The Lions achieved the lowest score possible by placing all seven scorers in the top seven. While the College scored 15 points, the second place team was Stockton with 74 points. Rowan placed third with 81 points.

Senior Angela Tecco placed first in the women’s 6K race with a time of 23:48.94. Since it was Tecco’s first season of collegiate cross country, she earned the NJAC Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Year and was also awarded the Rookie of the Year.

Junior Stephanie Herrick came in second (23:55.19), while junior Nicole Ullmeyer ran right behind her to place third (23:56.72). Taking fourth and fifth were junior Sara Best (23:59.20) and senior co-captain Christine Nystrom (24:02.19).

Freshman Kristen Lewis crossed the line in 23:05.38 to take sixth place, and senior Erin Enderly took seventh place in 24:10.72 to complete the sweep.

The men’s team captured its 14th consecutive NJAC Championship and claimed its 19th league title overall. The College placed first with a combined score of 22 points. Coming in second was Rutgers University-Camden with 65 points and third place went to Rowan University with 75 points.

The Lions placed six runners among the top 10 individual finishers. Leading the men on the standard 8K course was junior Chris Guerriero. Guerriero won his second straight men’s individual title in a time of 25:25.48, making it the 12th victory in a row for the College at the NJAC meet.

Following Guerriero’s pace, freshman T.J. Bocchino captured a third place finish (25:49.93). He also won the NJAC Men’s Cross Country Rookie of the Year award. Last year’s Rookie of the Year, sophomore Mike Fonder, placed fifth (26:18.45), senior Anthony Arnold took sixth (26:21.13) and sophomore Brandon Rodkewitz placed seventh (26:25.87).

Bocchino had his teammates to thank for his success.

“None of this would be possible without my teammates,” Bocchino said. “Day in and day out they’re right there beside me, pushing me to do my best.”

Finishing for the Lions was senior Kyle Alpaugh, who came in 10th in a time of 26:41.70, and junior Josh Krowicki, who placed 18th with 27:13.86.

Jennings was awarded the NJAC’s Women’s 2007 Cross Country Coach of the Year award, something he has received in the past for both the women’s and the men’s teams.

“It always feels good to be recognized for the accomplishments of not only one meet, but for a season,” Jennings said. “It not only reflects upon me, but upon the team and our assistant coaches as well.”

The top seven runners from each team will head to the Atlantic Regional Championships, which will be held at Van Cortland Park in the Bronx, N.Y., on Saturday.

“The team is just excited to stay focused during this championship part of our season,” Tecco said. “We put a lot into this season and we’re determined to have fun through it all.”