Cross Country Teams Return To Goucher For Landmark Championships
MADISON, N.J. – The Landmark Cross Country Championships return to the site of the first-ever Landmark Championships as the 2010 championship season kicks off when the 2010 Landmark Cross Country Championships will take place on the campus of Goucher College in Towson, Md. on Saturday Oct. 30. Men's and women's team champions will be crowned at the meet while competitors will also vie for individual first-place awards. Competition begins at 11 a.m. with the men's 8K race, with the women's 6K race following at 12 p.m. There will be an awards ceremony at approximately 1:30 p.m.
The meet gets started with the Susquehanna men's team trying to earn a fourth-straight title and remain the only team to win a Landmark Men's Cross Country Championship. The Crusaders have put together a solid regular season and though they may not have the top individual competitor this season they boast a deep team that could put several runners in All-Conference positions. Moravian and Juniata seem the likeliest challengers to a Susquehanna four-peat as each has enjoyed strong seasons. The Eagles were the top Landmark team at the Goucher Classic held on the Championship course in early October, besting four other Landmark programs and in Ceth Parker and Nik Klena have a pair of runners who are both capable of high finishes. Moravian did not compete in the Goucher meet but have strung together solid finishes throughout the year including a top-5 team finish in the highly-competitive DeSales Invitational. Like Juniata the Greyhounds have a top pair of performers in Matthew Lutcza and Donnie Noble who will pace the team in its quest for a Landmark crown. Also keep an eye on host Goucher which has taken big strides forward this season and has run well on its home course as well as USMMA which has its deepest roster since its third-place finish at the inaugural Landmark Championship.
The men's individual crown also looks like it could be wide open. Juniata's Parker and Moravian's Lutcza own some of the top times on the year, while David Haklar and Ian Quinlan have been consistent high finishers for Susquehanna. Joey Negreann of the host Gophers topped the field at the Goucher Classic on this course earlier in the month and has a pair of individual titles to his credit so far this season.
In the women's race the question might be, can team depth overcome the advantage Susquehanna seems to have with its top runners? The Crusader pair of Alycia Woodruff and Casey Hess have consistently produced high finishes this season and are likely to be near the front today, just as they were last season, and the pair helped the team win the Goucher Classic earlier in the year. But last year Scranton was able to earn the title on the strength of its balance with four runners in the top-14. It could be a number of teams to challenge that Susquehanna top pair this year as Moravian, Scranton and Juniata all may have a shot. The Royals return several members of last year's title team and have shown they have the ability to come through in the championship meet. Moravian has its own top duo to try and match Susquehanna and could also have the depth to challenge for a team crown with a number of its runners posting some of the top times in the conference this year. Goucher and Juniata also ran well at the Goucher Classic and will try to challenge for the top spot with greater team depth and balance.
While the women's team title has had no repeat winners that is not the case for the individual women's crown as Susquehanna has had control of that honor with Woodruff claiming the first two titles and Hess earning the distinction last year. Both runners have to be considered among the favorites to cross the line first this year as well, though there are other strong contenders. Cadee Rockwell of Moravian has some of the fastest times in the conference and should be in the mix and the same could be said for Maria Cifone of Scranton. Goucher's Kelsey Myette bested many of the top Landmark runners at the Goucher Classic, setting a course record in the process, and has to been seen as a contender for the title as well.
The Landmark Cross Country Championships will be the first of six fall sports that will crown Landmark champions in the coming weeks. Landmark postseason play will begin with semifinals on Wednesday Nov. 3, with Championships following on Saturday Nov. 6, with the winners earning automatic bids for the NCAA Division III Tournaments. The Landmark Cross Country teams will take part in NCAA competition in the NCAA Regional Championships on Nov. 13, with teams and individuals having the opportunity to qualify for the NCAA Championships which take place Nov. 20 in Waverly, Iowa. Last year the Landmark had four runners earn spots at the NCAA Championships and had nine competitors capture All-Region honors with their efforts at the NCAA Regionals.