By Miguel Gonzalez
The women’s cross country team finished fifth at the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships and qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships for the first time since 2013.
The men’s and women’s cross country teams both ran well at the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships at Houghton College on Saturday, Nov. 11.
The women’s team claimed fifth place out of 41 opponents with a score of 183. On the men’s side, juniors Matt Saponara and Quinn Wasko individually qualified for nationals.
In the 6,000-meter race, junior Natalie Cooper claimed sixth place out of 285 competitors and clocked in at 21:57.2.
After, Junior Madeleine Tattory secured 24th place with a time of 22:45.9, and freshman Gabby DeVito took 32nd place with a time of 22.53.7.
Junior Erin Holzbaur clocked in at 23:30.6, good for 56th place. Fellow junior Abigail Faith finished in 57th place with a time of 23:40.3.
“Going into the race, we focused on our team qualifying for nationals,” Cooper said.
At the men’s 8,000-meter race, junior Matt Saponara claimed 10th out of 290 runners with a time of 25:01. Fellow junior Quinn Wasko was close behind, taking 22nd place with a time of 25:18.9.
On Nov. 7, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams garnered honors from the New Jersey Athletic Conference. Head coach Justin Lindsey was announced as the NJAC coach of the year after leading the women’s team to the conference championship.
Cooper was named the NJAC runner of the year for winning her second consecutive NJAC individual title.
The women’s team also had five runners on the All-NJAC first team with Cooper, DeVito, Holzbaur, Tattory and Faith representing the Lions. DeVito was also named NJAC rookie of the year.
The men also received several conference honors. Freshman Robert Abrams was announced as the NJAC’s rookie of the year. Wasko, Saponara and Abrams were also named on the All-NJAC first team. The women’s team, along with Wasko and Saponara, will now head to Principia College in Elsah, Illinois for the upcoming NCAA Division III Championships on Saturday, Nov. 18.