Most Recent Meet
NCAA National Championships - November 22nd
Runner of the Meet - Mohamed Hussein
For the first time in 5 years, the men's team returned to the National Championships and were looking to capitalize on their momentum from the weekend before at the region Championships that earned them an automatic qualifying spot, as well as its highest NCAA ranking in program history at 7th. The race was run on the Kings island Golf & Tennis Center Golf course, and while the course itself was very flat and ideal for running fast times the couple of inches of snow early in the week, and then a rain storm early that morning made the course a little tougher as there was a good deal of mud and some of the turns in the course were real dicey. The men started in Box 4 so were on the far left of the starting line and it was towards their direction that most of the field would be breaking to after about 400m so we felt like we had a decent spot. With the cannon booming announcing the start, the guys did a great job of getting off the line and quickly and aggressively establishing themselves in decent spots. As the field really came together, and the course became more of the narrowed section they would race on, the guys had put themselves in pretty good position despite the very fast pace. Getting around the course to various spots in time to cheer would certainly prove challenging at times, especially with the hordes of screaming, and often scantily clad fans and the ringing of cow-bells probably drowns out any attempt to get the runners to hear anything you may be trying to scream to them but the guys were very focused on what they needed to do, and didn't need to hear it from anyone else. As they went through the first mile or so, Greg, Dan and Mo - as they have done pretty much all season - quickly found each other and worked as a group up in the Top 30-40 runners while Ray and Romey were racing together in the Hundred range, with Fuss a few seconds behind and Steve was struggling with a hamstring strain that he got in the first step off the line when he slipped in the mud. By 2 Miles, Greg and Mo were right around the 30 mark which was their target (Top 35 earn All-American) in about 9:30 while Dan was only a couple of seconds behind them, with Romey and Ray coming through around 9:50 for 2 Miles and still holding strong around 120. As they began to do the 2nd loop of the course, the guys pretty much maintained their positions with Mo and Greg still racing with each other around the 30 mark, while Dan was back around 60th while Romey and Ray had moved to about 100th and all were battling with scoring runners from some of our familiar New England foes. Fuss and Lucey were struggling a bit at this point as they were towards in the high 100 range. Before the 4 Mile mark - where the guys would do an extended outer loop of the golf Course before returning back towards the middle of the lay-out and beginning the final push to the finish - Mo made a strong move to move up a pack that put him around 30th while Greg struggled to make the same surge and fell back to about 42nd, and Dan was around 20 seconds back in the 60-70 range. Romey and Ray - never more then a body length from each other - continued to battle those around them in the low 100-120 positions. As the guys came around the final turn around, and started the last 400m straightaway to the finish, Mo was racing his freshmen legs off and kicking his way to a 30th place finish, earning All-American honors and running to a 24:34 - the 2nd fastest XC time in program history behind only Rob Mitchell - and finished as the first 2018 runner. Greg had slid back to the low-mid 40's, falling out of contention for AA but in the last 1k he started to throw down a furious finish and despite the mud, moved up through a string of runners and charging all the way to an incredible time of 24:37 but, in a heart-breaking manner, finished 36th place - 1 spot out of an All-American finish. Dan would move past a couple of guys in the home stretch to finish in 68th, just barely missing breaking the 25 minute barrier and coming down the finish was Romey Sklar to crack the Top 100 in 98th, running a big PR of 25:20 and followed closely by Raymond in 25:28 for 118th, while Fuss and Lucey would close out the day with a 26:21 and 27:38. When the mud finally dried on the shoes, and the results had been sorted the guys would wind up finishing 9th overall with 263 points. It was the best finish for the program and will provide the challenge for the guys returning next year. New England had a great day as the other teams finished 5th, 6th, 8th, 13th and 22nd. It has been an incredible season, and one of a lot of improvement and progression from last year to now - where we finished 8th in the region to grabbing a runner-up region spot and 9th in the country! The bar has been raised, and the expectations for next year, and the years to come will be to continue to race and compete at this level! With his All-American honor, Mo becomes the first freshmen to earn the honor and only the 4th runner in program history to earn AA - but looking forward to adding to the list next fall!