Teams place in the top 10; Lions cross season finish line

By Richard Cuccagna

and Brandon Gould
Sports Assistant

The College’s men’s and women’s cross country teams finished fifth and eighth respectively in the 2010 NCAA Division III Atlantic Regional Cross Country Championships in Oneonta, N.Y. on Saturday.

According to event rules, the two top teams from each race automatically earn trips to the 2010 NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championships, which are going to be hosted by Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa next Saturday .

However, the NCAA cross-country championship committee then gives out at-large berths, which left the Lions fate to the committee’s selection – they were unfortunately not selected.

“This weekend at Regionals we had a strong showing with a top-5 finish,” said sophomore Andy Gallagher. “In past years, this would have secured a spot at Nationals, but we are proud of our achievements this season. Quarry dog!”

Senior T.J. Bocchino, who finished 17th overall out of 268 runners, placed highest for the Lions in the men’s race with a time of 25:27.6.

Junior Rob Nihen was the next Lion to cross the finish line for the men’s team with a time of 25:48.3, which was good enough for 27th overall.

The efforts of Bocchino and Nihen were enough to earn them a selection to the men’s All-Region team.

Meanwhile, junior Claire Johnson placed highest for the Lions in the women’s race. Johnson’s time of 23:19.9 allowed her to finish 32nd out of 236 runners.

Fellow junior Alyssa Bannon wasn’t far behind as she finished with a time of 23:21.2 and a 35th place finish.

Johnson and Bannon were able to match the efforts of Bocchino and Nihen by earning selections to the women’s All-Region team.

Sophomore Cathy Goncalves also ran well for the Lions with a time of 23:50.8.

“Our main focus this past weekend was to work as a team and get an at large-bid to Nationals,” Goncalves said. “Even though we didn’t qualify, we have a very young team, so our goal is to become stronger and faster in order to earn that national bid next year.”