2013 Cross Country Championship Preview
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The America East cross country season will conclude this Saturday, November 2 in Vestal, N.Y. as Binghamton University hosts the 2013 conference championship meet. Stony Brook looks to defend their crowns, as the Seawolves swept both titles at New Hampshire last year. The meet is set to begin at 11:00 a.m. with the women’s 5k, while the men’s 8k will follow shortly after at noon.
This year’s women’s race will prove to be an interesting one as four programs have been ranked in the last four weeks in the Northeast Region. Stony Brook sits atop America East programs, having been ranked in every possible USTFCCCA poll this season, as the reigning champions currently stand at No. 9. The Seawolves feature top-runners Annie Keown and Olivia Burne, who have consistently been the leaders of their pack. Stony Brook is looking to extend its streak of six consecutive titles to seven, which would then tie the program with Boston University for the longest streak in America East history.
New Hampshire boasts a strong squad that is hungry to knock off the Seawolves. The Wildcats are currently ranked at No. 10 in the Northeast for their best standing of the season. While there has been no one standout for UNH, the team has racked up three individual Performer of the Week recognitions in freshmen Amanda Szymanski and Elinor Purrier and junior Chelsey Serrano.
Vermont and Albany consistently rounded out the USTFCAA Northeast poll at No. 14 and 15, respectively, in the last four weeks of the rankings. Vermont will prove to be a top-competitor as the Catamounts placed runners in five of the top-10 spots in the Pre-Conference Meet. Senior captain Yolanda Ngarambe was among those runners as she finished just 14 seconds behind the top-runner for second place, while her counterpart in captaincy, senior Kirsten Weberg, finished fifth overall. Last year’s runner-up, Brittney Lane of Albany, returns with three Performer of the Week recognitions under her belt. One of those honors came after she topped all America East women in the Pre-Conference Meet at the beginning of the year.
On the men’s side, the race will feature three teams currently ranked in the USTFCAA poll. UMBC currently sits at No. 10 in the Mid-Atlantic Poll, while New Hampshire and Maine are ranked at 14 and 15, respectively, in the most recent Northeast poll. Defending champions Stony Brook were ranked three times early on in the season.
UMBC brings a strong duo of Eric Schuler and Hassan Omar, who have each had impressive finishes this year. Schuler finished first in a field of 81 runners at the AE Pre-Conference meet, clocking in at 25:33, while Omar currently holds the best 8k time of 24:21 among all America East men’s Performers of the Week in 2013.
Other standouts for the men’s ranked teams include two-time Performer of the Week honorees Maine’s Kelton Cullenberg and New Hampshire’s John Prizzi. Stony Brook’s Eric Speakman, the 2012 AE individual champion, led the Seawolves to their first title in program history last year and looks repeat as a strong performer in an impressive group of men’s contenders.
Host Binghamton University is eager for home field advantage as the Bearcats host the 2013 AE Cross Country Championship.
Visit Championship Central on AmericaEast.com for course maps, meet history and more. You can also follow the action on Twitter @AmericaEast, #AEChamps or #AEXC as the first champions of 2013-14 are crowned.