By Jonathan Pressman ’14, Senior Staff Writer
In a notoriously competitive conference, the F&M men’s cross country fought for a sixth-place finish at the Centennial Conference Championship meet on Saturday, Nov. 1.
With three of the nine teams in the conference ranked in the Division III national polls, the Diplomats faced off against some of the stiffest competition in the country, including eighth-ranked Dickinson College, 12th-ranked Haverford College, and No. 32 Johns Hopkins University.
Johns Hopkins claimed the team title, upsetting both Haverford and Dickinson, and putting an end to Haverford’s three-year reign as conference champion. Dickinson College would finish in second-place, followed by Haverford, Swarthmore, and Muhlenberg College.
“I am disappointed with the outcome of the race,” said captain Lukasz Olenginski ’15. He is maintaining a positive outlook on the final race of the season, the Mid-East Regional Championships.
“I feel like our team had a great start to the season and I saw a lot of potential,” said Olenginski, “We hit a bit of a mid-season slump and unfortunately did not execute at conferences, but the most important race is yet to come!”
Bryan Andrews ’15 was the first to cross the finish line for F&M taking 37th overall in a time of 27 minutes 42 seconds. Andrews was followed by a trio of Diplomat finishers led by J.T. Paganelli ’17, with Greg Olenginski ’15 and Brien Miceli ’17 close behind.
After an impressive season featuring a first-place finish at the Rich Achtzehn Classic, second at the Delaware Invitational, and a stellar third of 42 teams at the Lehigh Paul Short Run, the Diplomats will look to bounce back from an always-difficult conference championship meet at the Mid-East Regional Championship race.
Last year, the Diplomats captured 10th place of 49 teams at the Mid-East Regional meet, the best finish in head coach John Stoudt’s six-year tenure at F&M.
With many of the star runners from last year being lost to graduation, the Dips will be depending on season-best performances from veteran juniors Bryan Andrews and the Olenginski brothers. Other runners expected to contribute include James Hamilton ’16, Brian Miceli ’17, J.T. Paganelli, and Michael Whalen ’17.
F&M will be looking forward to next year and seeing what its talented young team is capable of. Losing only two seniors to graduation, the Diplomats will return strong.
“We are focusing on being smarter with training and learning from mistakes we have made in the past” Lukasz said.
Back in action on Nov. 16, the Dips will look to improve on this week’s performance and crack the top-10 at the Regional Championships, hosted by Muhlenberg College.
Senior Jonathan Pressman is a senior staff writer. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.