By Eddie Young
The College’s women’s cross country team took home the NCAA Metro Regional Championship at Rowan University on Nov. 11 to earn an automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship meet, which will take place next on Nov. 18.
The victory was the College’s first regional victory since 2003. This win adds to an already impressive trophy case for the College this season, as in their last meet they won the NJAC championship for the second time in two seasons.
On the men’s side of the field, sophomore Brandon Chen finished third in the competition, leading the Lions in a third place finish. The team narrowly missed out on an at-large bid for the NCAA championship meet, but Chen qualified for the race individually with his top seven finish.
The victory for the women was a great team effort. No runner finished in the top seven, so none of them would have qualified for the individual NCAA championship race if it were not for the team’s victory, but five finished between 10 and 20, making it very hard for any other team to win this race.
The first runner to finish for the College was freshman Naesha Gadie in 10th place. Only 0.4 seconds behind her was the Lions’ second finisher, senior Cassidy Quinn, who beat out the next finisher by only 1/10 of a second. They finished with times of 22:35.7 and 22:36.1, respectively.
The next runner to finish for the College was senior captain Salini Iyer, who finished in 14th with a time of 22:48.7. Iyer was followed close behind by senior Katherine Rice, who was the fourth to finish for the Lions in 16th place and had a time of 22:57.8.
Coming in 5 seconds later was the fifth and final point scorer for the Lions, senior captain Emily Hoegler. Her 20th place finish and time of 23:02.9 shut the door on any possible comeback for the opposition and guaranteed the win for the College. They finished with 68 points, which was 18 higher than second place Stockton, who had 86.
Chen, this year’s NJAC Rookie of the Year, was just two tenths of a second behind the second place finisher. He still put together a personal best time of 24:56.7 with an absurd 5:01 average mile, which was more than enough to help him clinch a spot in the upcoming NCAA tournament individual meet.
“I feel really lucky to be able to represent [the College] at the national level,” said Chen, a secondary education and mathematics major. “I’m excited for this race and to see what I am capable of.”
Also performing well for the College’s men’s team were senior captain Brian Micco and junior Matt Granizo. They finished in 12th and 16th place, with times of 25:18.8 and 25:27.0, respectively. These performances helped the College in their third place finish as a team with 91 points, just 13 behind the champion, Haverford College.
Chen will join the women’s team on their trip to Dickinson College on Nov. 18 to compete in the NCAA championship meet. Chen will race against the best Division III runners from across the country at 11 a.m., while the women will compete in their race at noon.