Lions compete in Minnesota

On Saturday, Nov. 17, the Lions traveled to Northfield, Minn., to compete in the 2007 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships at St. Olaf College.

Winning the men’s title was New York University (128 points) while the College placed 28th with 577 points. Amherst College (120 points) took home the women’s title. For the second straight year, the Lions’ women placed 22nd with a total of 564 points.

In the men’s 8,000-meter championship race, junior Chris Guerriero was the Lions’ lead runner. Guerriero placed 23rd in a time of 25:08 and earned All-America honors for the second time in his career.

Senior captain Galen Johnson concluded his cross country career taking home 105th place in a time of 26:03. Behind Johnson was sophomore Mike Fonder who ran a 26:18 to capture 142nd place.

In his first NCAA championship, freshman T.J. Bocchino finished 153rd in 26:22. Right behind him in 154th place was senior Steve Kinney (26:22). Adding a 194th place finish was senior Anthony Arnold (26:58) while sophomore Brandon Rodkewitz ran a 27:29 to take 209th and complete the Lions’ team effort.

“I’m proud of everyone for working hard this year and supporting each other,” Johnson said. “I feel like this year can still be a step in the right direction for the future.”

The Lions’ women finished within 50 seconds of each other.

The 6,000-meter women’s race was led for the College by junior Martine McGrath. McGrath ran a 23:01 to place 70th while junior Stephanie Herrick was next in 90th place with a time of 23:10.

“There is nothing that really prepares you for this race because it is unlike any race we run during the regular season,” McGrath said. “The energy is so high and everyone out there is gunning for the same goals, so it is really competitive.”

Junior Megan O’Leary picked up 110th place for the Lions in a time of 23:18.

In 135th place was junior Sara Best (23:30). Senior co-captain Christine Nystrom ran a 23:42 in her final cross country race to finish in 159th place.

“It was a great weekend overall in terms of the team atmosphere,” Nystrom said. “It was really just such a gift to get to spend this extra year with these girls on this team.”

Concluding her first cross country season, junior Angela Tecco added a 162nd place score in 23:46. The Lions’ final place-finisher was junior Nicole Ullmeyer in 170th place with a time of 23:50.

“I feel that we had a very good season,” McGrath said. “We really came together as a team, and that is one of the most important things.”

“I’m sad that the season is over because we had so much fun,” she added, “but I am proud that we were able to achieve all that we did.”

Head coach Phil Jennings shared his final comments on the season.

“As a team, we have very high expectations and we hoped to finish a little higher in the rankings,” he said. “We experienced a few injuries to some key people this season, and these are things (we) can’t change. However, I’m happy to see the team come together despite these setbacks, and I’m very proud of all their hard work.”