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XC teams place sixth at NCAC Championships

Sheamus Dalton

Sports Editor

Last Saturday, on a muddy course at Infirmary Grounds Park in Granville, Ohio, the College of Wooster Cross Country teams competed in the NCAC Cross Country Championships. Pushing through the cold and rainy conditions, Wooster’s men and women each earned sixth place finishes in fields of 10 and nine teams respectively.

The men’s team finished three places lower than last year, but still had notable performances. Two runners placed in the top 21 in the 8k race. Joe David ’15 led the Scots across the finish line with a 12th place finish and a time of 27:01.6. He was followed closely by Blake Pecoraro ’17 in 17th (27:10.4). Because of their top 21 finishes, David was given second-team all-conference honors and Pecoraro was given honorable mention all-conference honors.

The men also had five more runners finish among the top 50. Karl Stemen ’15 finished in 35th, William Wojtkiewicz ’15 finished in 39th, Albert Darling ’16 finished 41st, Marshall finished 47th and Kent Nakamoto ’17 finished 48th.

“[The] Conference could’ve gone better,” said Wojtkiewicz. “But now we’re focused on preparing for regionals. We’ve trained hard and we are confident that we will have a great performance if we put it all together.”

On the women’s side, the Scots were led by Lauren Buyan ’15 in 24th (25:06.6) across the 6k course. Buyan was followed by Kayla Zboran ’17 in 26th (25:09.8), marking the second straight year that Wooster had two runners in the top 30 at the NCAC Championships. Erin Andrews-Sharer ’15, Mackenzie Kellar ’18, Rachelle Herrin ’15 and Gabriella Neubauer ’18 rounded out the Scots’ top 50 finishers in 34th, 38th, 41st and 47th, respectively. As a team, the women improved from their seventh place finish in 2013.

“I’m very proud of all the women who went out and raced,” said Andrews-Sharer. “We are in a tough conference and the conditions were tough but everyone remained calm and just did what we have been training for all season.”

As their seasons close in on the final few weeks, the Scots look to record strong finishes in the upcoming meets. Next, the teams will compete in the Twilight 5k Challenge this Saturday before preparing for the NCAA Div. III Regional Championship Nov. 15 in Wilmington, Ohio.

Wooster must finish in the top two teams from the Great Lakes Region, or be awarded one of 16 at-large bids, in order to advance to the NCAA Div. III National Championships in Wilmington, Ohio on Nov. 22.

The men will be competing for these spots against many tough Great Lakes competitors, including nationally-ranked NCAC opponent Wabash College. The women will also be competing against a strong field led by nationally-ranked Oberlin College and Ohio Wesleyan University.

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