Cross country running it up

Seniors Andy Herschman (L) and Rob Nihen (R) (Photo Courtesy of Sports Information Desk)

The 2010 season was a big success for the men’s cross country team. After a strong season in which they cemented their place as the New Jersey Athletic Conference champions for the 17th consecutive year, the team took fifth place at the regional qualifiers and was on the bubble to compete in the NCAA championship meet.

In previous years, this would have been enough to earn them an at-large bid to nationals, but unfortunately, only the top four teams qualified last year. The top two finishing teams in the Atlantic regionals are guaranteed bids to the NCAA championship meet, while the NCAA cross-country championship committee is left to select the next 16 teams for at large bids. Only the top-five teams are given consideration for at-large bids with the key qualification being Regional performance and place.

Coming into their 2011 campaign, the Lion’s greatest difficulty will be overcoming the loss of their previous captain, TJ Bocchino, who was able to compete at nationals all four years he attended the College. Bocchino proved to be a leader on and off the track, and will be a hard member of the team to replace.

Going forward, the men’s cross country team returns with an abundance of strong runners, and a number of younger guys who should have the ability to develop significantly over the coming months. They have a strong returning nucleus consisting of senior captain Andy Herschman, senior Rob Nihen, senior captain Nick Bond, junior Andy Gallagher and sophomore Domonic Tasco. All are runners who posted strong performances in both the NJAC championship and the Atlantic regionals.

“With how close we came last year, we will all have our minds set on nationals this season, and I believe we have the potential to succeed,” Gallagher said.

The men’s cross country team opens up their season at the Blue/Gold Classic in Rosedale Park on Sept. 3, and follows that with the Fordham University Fiasco at Van Cortlandt Park on Sept. 10.