Cross country team competes in vital Centennial Conference Championship

BY JONATHAN PRESSMAN ’14
Copy Editor

In the conference championship meet, featuring a total of six nationally ranked teams, the F&M men’s and women’s cross country teams battled to sixth and eighth place finishes, respectively.

On the men’s side, Haverford College, ranked number one in Division III nationally and the clear favorite in the race, took the crown, followed by Dickinson College and Johns Hopkins University.

The women’s race was dominated by Johns Hopkins, who secured first, second, and fourth place finishes, separated by F&M standout Sheena Crawley ’13. Crawley, who ran a career best of 21 minutes and 20 seconds remained on the heels of the top two finishers through most of the race and created an eight second gap between herself and Hopkins’ fourth place to secure the bronze. The pack of rookie runners Julia Zielinski ’16 and Mallory Reed ’16 rounded out the scoring for F&M, placing 56th and 69th in the 113-woman field.

For the men, Bryan Andrews ’15 led the way, navigating the five-mile course in an impressive 26 minutes and 17 seconds. Andrews was followed by seniors Josh Wesalo ’13, Tim Merlino ’13, Greg Duckloe ’13 and Francis Blancero ’13, who all contributed to a strong finish.

The Diplomats will have next weekend off in preparation for the Mideast Regional meet, which will take place Nov. 10. Last year, Duckloe and Andrews both missed qualifying for the national championships by a hair with their times at the regional meet and will have their chance this year to earn a trip to Terre Haute, IN, where Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology will host the 2012 National Cross Country Championships.

Both the men’s and women’s teams fought through injuries, setbacks and seasonal sniffles on Saturday, but held their own in the highly competitive field.

With the Mideast Regional meet coming up, the Diplomats will face Centennial Conference competition, along with a number of other teams in the area.

At last year’s Mideast Regionals, Haverford captured the men’s team title, and Johns Hopkins secured the number one finish of the women. F&M will look forward to the meet, and the men’s team is eyeing a top 10 finish, an accomplishment that has not been achieved since 1997. The meet will take place in Carlisle, PA, the same place it happened to be in 1997, when the F&M men ran their way to fifth place.

Stay posted as F&M competes at regionals and prepares for nationals, where expectations are high. Representation from the Diplomat men’s and women’s squads are expected.

Questions? Email Jonathan at jpressma@fandm.edu.

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