Runners head to NCAAs

On Saturday, Carnegie Mellon’s cross country teams returned to action to race at the Division III NCAA Mideast Regionals in Waynesburg, Pa. The men’s team finished third out of 39 teams with 123 points overall. The women’s team finished in a ninth-place tie out of 41 teams with 349 points.

Men’s cross country

Haverford College defeated Allegheny College by three points to win the overall men’s title, 51 and 54, respectively. Both Haverford and Allegheny automatically qualify for the 32-team NCAA championships by finishing in the top two from one of eight regional championships. The Tartans also qualified for the championships by securing one of the remaining 16 spots.

The field was soggy and muddy from the rain in the morning before the start of the 8K race. “It was impossible to get any momentum going because the footing was so sloppy,” sophomore Breck Fresen said. “The conditions today definitely put the ‘X’ back into ‘XC.’ ”

Despite the wet and muddy running conditions, sophomore Brian Harvey led the Tartans, finishing sixth overall with a time of 26:33. Harvey individually qualified for the NCAA championships by finishing in the top seven runners.
Senior captain Geoff Misek followed to finish 19th overall with a time of 27:03. Fresen and first-year Dario Donatelli finished closely behind Misek, both with times of 27:14. Fresen edged out Donatelli at the finish line to finish third for the team.

“We had really hoped to beat Allegheny and to at least be close to Haverford, but both teams had really strong performances and ran away with the race,” Misek said.

Sophomore Mike Haley finished fifth for the team with a time of 28:00. Junior Jason Jura and sophomore Bill Lordan rounded out the top seven with times of 28:56 and 29:22, respectively.

Harvey, Misek, Fresen, and Donatelli were all named to the All-Mideast Regional Team. Donatelli was also named the second fastest first-year in the race. “My most memorable moment today was slogging through the mud and grime, and still having a good enough race to finish in the top 25, and as the second freshman, to help my team to a top-three finish,” Donatelli said.

On Saturday, the men’s team will finish its season at the NCAA Division III National Championships at Wilmington College in Westchester, Ohio.

“It would have been nice to get second and get the automatic bid to nationals, but as long as we’re going, it’s fine,” Haley said.

Women’s cross country

On the women’s side, Dickinson College ran away with the team title with 49 points. Haverford finished second overall with 104 points.

For the Tartans, first-years Hallie Espel and Danielle Sedlack ended rookie seasons by finishing 22nd and 38th overall in the 6K race with times of 24:27 and 25:00, respectively.

“The course was sloppy and muddy, and people were falling and slipping throughout the whole race,” Espel said. “I think it made the times comparably slower than last time at Waynesburg.”

Senior Jerri Castillo finished third for the team and 74th with a time of 25:58. Sophomore Carolyn Clayton followed finishing with a time of 26:13. Senior captain Stefani Penn finished fifth for the team in 27:29. Sophomore Chrissy Krutz and junior Carrie Kmetzo rounded out the top seven with times of 27:43 and 28:15, respectively.

Espel was named to the All-Mideast Region Team by finishing 22nd overall. She was also one of the top four first-years in the race.

Although no one qualified for the NCCA Championships, the women’s ninth-place finish was one place better than their finish last year. “It was good to see us improve from our 10th-place finish last year, Krutz said. “We have a lot of young runners and I think we will continue to improve in the future.”