Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Secure NCAA Championship Spot

Matt Flannery

On Saturday November 12, the Colgate men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Buffalo, New York to take part in the NCAA regional qualifiers. Both teams performed admi­rably and Colgate will once again be represented at the NCAA National Championship at Indi­ana State University. The men’s squad finished the meet 26th overall, while the women placed an impressive 17th overall.

Junior Chris Johnson again put forth an impressive performance, placing 13th individually in the meet and qualifying for the NCAA National Championships. Johnson got out of the gate quickly and kept pace with some of the strongest runners in the Northeast, finishing the challenging course in just 31:38.2. Johnson trailed 12th place finisher Alexander Soderberg of Iona College by a mere .2 seconds.

There was a sizeable gap between Johnson and the next Raider to cross the line. Junior Timothy Phelps raced decently, finishing the course in a solid 34:35.1. Phelps’s solid time earned him a 161st place finish in the large field of runners. Senior veteran Thomas Hedges rounded out the top-3 for Col­gate, placing 181st overall with an official time of 35:05.3. Sophomore Everett Stilley and senior Mitch Boucher placed fourth and fifth for Colgate, respectively. The promising Stilley placed 183rd overall, finishing just behind Hedges with a time of 35:09.9. Seasoned vet Boucher held his own against the talented competition, placing 214th overall with a final time of 36:18.4.

Syracuse University took home first place in the event, using consistent performances across the board to tally just 54 points. Iona College placed second overall with 72 points, while Columbia Uni­versity rounded out the podium positions with a solid 96 points. The Raiders finished the competition with 718 points.

As has often been the case throughout her legendary Colgate career, senior Elise DeRoo paced the Colgate women’s squad with a blistering time. The record-setting veteran finished the grueling course in an tremendous 21:41.4; good enough for 36th place overall. Fellow senior Chelsea Burns finished the official final event of her cross-country career with an impressive time of 22:40.6, which placed her 80th overall. Teammate and classmate Kendall Lyons finished just behind Burns in 82nd place. The official results listed the seniors as having the same official time, however Burns managed to nudge past her peer in the last few steps of the 6-kilometer race. Senior Kelly Cattano and junior Sarah Cable rounded out the top-5 for Colgate, finishing 132nd and 198th, respectively. Cattano snapped the tape in 23:29.5, while Cable crossed the finish line in a solid 24:38.1.

The women’s portion of the meet was once again won by Syracuse University, who posted 116 points in the victory. Boston College trailed just behind in second place with 127 points, while local rival Cornell University rounded out the podium positions in third place with 137 points. The Raiders tallied 525 points over the course of the entire race.

Colgate’s runners will return to action one last time this season when they compete in the IC4A Championships held in Van Cortlandt Park, New York. One high-profile member will be absent, as Johnson will take to the course one final time this season to represent Colgate on Monday, Novem­ber 21 at the NCAA Championship, which will be held at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. When asked how he will prepare for the highly competitive meet, Johnson sounded calm and collected, saying, “The hay is in the barn – there is not much more I can do but go out and race on Monday. I will take it very easy and just try to maintain my fitness into the final race of the year.”

Contact Matt Flannery at [email protected]