WSU to host NCAA XC regional

WESTFIELD – Westfield State University will host the NCAA Division III New England Regional Women’s Cross Country Championships on Saturday, November 12th at Stanley Park.
An anticipated 60 colleges/universities and about 400 runners will be participating in the race, with the top two teams, and the next top seven individual runners (whose teams do not qualify) will advance to Louisville, KY on November 19th to compete at the NCAA Division III National Championship. The NCAA Committee may also select additional teams from the region to compete at the NCAA Championships. The New England region is one of the strongest in the country, and last year six of the teams from New England were selected to compete at the NCAA Championship.
Saturday’s meet will begin with the 6k women’s race at 11:00 a.m. followed by the 8k men’s race at 12:00 p.m.
xclogoWestfield State’s junior Jessie Cardin (Sutton, Mass. / Sutton Memorial) is expected to contend for an individual qualifying spot in her respective field. Cardin placed 12th of 390 runners in last year’s NCAA regional meet, a race she finished with one shoe after getting stepped on during the course of the races. Cardin comes into the race in good form, off of winning the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference title two weeks ago. Cardin also won the James Earley Invitational, held in October over the same course the field will run in the regional meet, in a time of 21:26.81.
Westfield State senior Ashley Monahan (Springfield, Mass. / Agawam) placed 85th in the 2015 race, assisted the Owls to the 20th spot amongst 56 competing schools, and recently finished third at the MASCAC championship.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology senior Maryann Gong (Livermore, Calif. / Granada) won last year’s NCAA Regional race held at the Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, Conn. traversing the course at 21:36 and is expected to be a top competitor again this year. Freshman teammate Megan McCandless (Livermore, Calif. / Granada) is a strong contender to note as well, winning last weekend’s NEWMAC Championships hosted by Smith College, completing the 5K race two spots ahead of Gong.
Among other top contenders for the 2016 Regional title include Williams College freshman Carmen Bango (Woodstock, VT / Phillips Academy) who ran her best race of the season in the NESCAC Championships completing the 6K course at 22:56.31 and junior Anna Harleen (Ross, Calif. / Branson School) who wasn’t far behind, crossing the line with a finishing kick in 23:05.15. Teammates Victoria Kingham (New York, N.Y. / The Brearley School) and Hannah Cole (Honeoye Falls, N.Y. / Honeoye Falls-Lima High School) were top finishers in the 2015 NCAA Regionals and had strong performances last weekend as well. The Ephwomen are the defending national champions.
Middlebury College sophomore runner Abigail Nadler (Chicago, Ill / Latin School of Chicago) placed first at the NESCAC Championships, completing the race at 22:33.77 and will be a strong competitor, along with Brandeis University’s sophomore Emily Bryson (Quincy, Mass. / No. Quincy) who earned All-America honors as a freshman. Bryson ran second to Cardin in the James Earley Invitational.
Also in the mix for possible contenders come November 12th include Tufts University sophomore Natalie Bettez (Bolton, Mass. / Nashoba) and Amherst College freshman Katherine Treanor (Chevy Chase, Md. / Georgetown Day School) who placed second and third at the NESCAC Championship.
MIT, Williams College and Tufts University are currently the top three schools in the United State Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USTFCCCA) regional rankings.
The course will take the runners through Stanley Park along dirt roads and woodchip trails in the beautiful Wildlife Refuge portion of the park. Runners will be challenged by hilly, wooded trails throughout the race while the flat, grassy upper sections of the park will allow for an exciting start and finish and provide spectators a view of much of the race. The race finishes on the upper field across the street from Westfield State University’s Woodward Center.
The top 35 finishers will earn All-New England Honors at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday in the Woodward Center Gym at 1:45 p.m.

Williams College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Amherst College enter the race as the top three teams in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association regional rankings.
Williams placed three of its runners among the top five to win last year’s regional meet at Harkness State Park in Connecticut. Of those top contenders returning to the action again this year are fourth and fifth place competitors, senior Peter Hale (Swampscott, Mass. / Swampscott High School) and junior Ben Decker (Yarmouth, Maine / Yarmouth High School).
Other runners to watch include Amherst’s Mohamed Hussein, who won last year’s regional title. Tufts University’s Tim Nichols won the recent New England Small College Athletic Conference title in 24:58 in a race contested in Waterville, Maine. MIT’s Matthew Deyo won the NEWMAC conference championship, and Fitchburg State’s Jake Hastings, who won the MASCAC championship.Gordon College’s Damon Kilgore won the men’s 8,000 meter race in a time of 25:10.57 at the James Earley Invitational over the same course in Stanley Park in October.
Westfield State senior Derik Noland (Kingston / Silver Lake Regional) is expected to be the Owls’ top contender. Noland was second across the wire for the Owls at the 2015 regional, placing 107th of 380 runners with an 8k time of 26:44. Senior teammate Tevin Cintron (Fall River / Diman Vocational) placed 128th, and was Westfield’s fourth finisher in last year’s race, helping the Owls to 17th place in the region. – Courtesy of Westfield State University Sports

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