XC takes UAA conference championship

When senior Nick End fell halfway through Saturday afternoon?s UAA conference championship race at Schenley Park, it appeared as though any hope the Tartans? cross-country team had of upsetting a higher-ranked field and bringing the school its first conference championship since 1989, went down along with him.
But rather than give up on the race, End jumped right up, dusted himself off and ran his best time of the season, leading the unranked Tartans to an unexpected UAA title over such nationally ranked foes as NYU and Washington University.
?Nick took a really bad fall there,? said senior All-American Dana Irrer. ?For him to get up so quickly and still finish so well I think really motivated the guys behind him on our team to just go all out.?
Indeed, the Tartans? third through fifth runners all set personal records en route to earning All-UAA honors. Junior Mike Bridenbaugh finished eighth with a time of 25:45.9, junior Geoff Misek finished 13th in 26:03.2 and conference freshman of the year Breck Fresen was 14th, right behind Misek in 26:04.0. Irrer, meanwhile, led the team with a third-place finish in a season-best time of 25:24.5.
?We all knew what we had to do, and we just went out there and did it,? said Bridenbaugh. ?For us to come together and run our best means so much to everyone on the team. Winning conferences is something that I?m sure will stay with all of us forever.?
?It?s just amazing we had everyone running so well on the same page,? added Irrer. ?After some sub-par results, to do this in Nick and my senior year, and to have everyone clicking like this is so exciting. Now we just have to keep it up for regionals.?
The Tartans head to Dickinson College next weekend for their regional race. The top three teams advance to nationals. ?The way we?re running right now, I think we have a good shot,? said sophomore Doug Fricker. ?I think everyone is confident about our chances.?
On the women?s side, senior Jocelyn Sikora led the team with a twelth place finish in a time of 23:08.9. She was followed by KJ Hilmstetter, who finished 32nd in 23:56.4, and Carrie Mallozi, 47th. The Tartans finished seventh.