NCAA Berths on the Line at NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional
Nov. 10, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.: November 9, 2010 - Looking to ride the momentum of a successful run at the Big Ten Championships, as well as a home-course advantage, the Nittany Lion cross country squads will vie for berths to the NCAA Championships, this Saturday at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships at the Blue and White Golf Courses. Both the Nittany Lion men's and women's squads, which are ranked 26th and 28th, respectively, in the latest United States Track and Field/Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) poll, are coming off of fourth-place efforts in the team standings at the Big Ten Championships last month. Both teams were well represented on the awards stand with juniors Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.), and Vince McNally (Paoli, Pa.), and sophomores Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) claiming All-Big Ten Second Team citations.
Neither Nittany Lion squad will have an easy road to an NCAA automatic berth, however, as top-ranked Villanova, and No. 5 Georgetown, as well as 19th-ranked Princeton will look to lead the women's race, with No. 17 Princeton, and No. 29 Villanova favored to be amongst the contenders for the top two finishing spots on the men's side.
About the Meet: The NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships
When: Saturday, November 13
Where: Penn State Blue and White Golf Course
Race Times (Distances): 12:00 p.m. (Women's 6,000-Meters); 1:15 p.m. (Men's 10,000-Meters)
Results: Available at the conclusion of the races at www.GoPSUsports.com; or www.runhigh.com
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NCAA Advancement Procedure:
Teams - The top two teams at each of nine NCAA regional championship meets will automatically qualify for the championship meet on November 22.
Individuals - From each NCAA regional meet, the first four student-athletes not on a qualifying team will be automatic qualifiers to the NCAA championship meet. All individual automatic qualifiers must finish in the top 25 within their region.
At Large Selections:
Teams - Thirteen (13) at-large teams will be selected by the NCAA Division I track and field subcommittee. Teams will come under consideration in the order of their regional finish and decisions will be made based on regular season results. Final selections will be announced on Sunday evening.
Individuals - The committee will select two at-large individuals, by identifying the highest non-qualifying individual finishes at the regional meets.
Click Here to See the Complete Advancement Procedure in the NCAA Handbook.
Women's Race Preview:
The women's race will feature arguably the deepest regional field in the country, with the Villanova Wildcats - the defending NCAA Champions - at the front of the pack. The region is also just as deep in experience, with the top three finishers from last year's Mid-Atlantic Regional returning, as well as five of the top six. Leading the Wildcat contingent is junior Sheila Reid, who is the defending Mid-Atlantic Regional Champion as well as an NCAA All-American. Reid excelled in her last appearance on the Blue and White Golf Courses, taking top honors at the Penn State National last month, leading a one-two sweep with teammate and fellow All-American Amanda Marino in second. The Wildcats are also coming off a victory at the Big East Championships, via an individual title from Reid and five Wildcats in the top 11 finishers.
Georgetown has been equally as impressive in 2010, winning the Pre-Nationals White Race in mid-October, on the heels of a fifth-place finish from Emily Jones. Jones - just a sophomore - and teammate junior Emily Infield have been an outstanding one-two punch for the Hoyas this fall, pacing Georgetown to a second-place finish at the Big East Championships. The Hoyas, who were won the team title at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational earlier this year, were fifth in a region a year ago, with Infield earning All-Region honors thanks to a third-place effort individually.
Penn State and Princeton will also both be in contention in the team race, with the Lions boasting a fourth-place effort at the Big Ten Championships, and the Tigers hoping to the ride momentum of their fifth-straight Ivy League victory. Princeton took second in the Mid-Atlantic last year, and would go on to a fifth-place effort at the NCAA Championships. Four of the seven members of the Tiger's fifth-place squad remain, including individual Ivy League Champion Alex Banfich. So far this season, Princeton has posted seventh-place standings at both the Notre Dame Invitational, and in the Pre-Nationals Blue Race. The Nittany Lions have mounted a solid fall campaign, remaining in the USTFCCCA Top 30 for most of the season. The Lions' 2010 resume includes a ninth-place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational, a 10th-place effort at the high-powered Notre Dame Invitational, and a third-place standing at home at the Penn State National - behind only Villanova and top-10 ranked Syracuse.
The Lions have relied on a strong "pack attack" throughout the season, with no more than 40 seconds between first and fifth finishers in any meet this fall. Along with Ridder and Bower, who both claimed All-Big Ten recognition last month, the Nittany Lions have gotten outstanding efforts out of juniors Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.), and Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.), who have both finished as Penn State's number one runner during a competition this fall. Both juniors also posted top 25 finishes at the conference meet, and were just outside of All-Region status a year ago with Lane in 29th, and Millhouse in 30th. Also running well have been seniors Maura Ryan (Doylestown, Pa.) and Paige Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.) as well as sophomore Lindsey Graybill (Macungie, Pa.) and freshman Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.). Ryan was the Lions' fifth at Big Tens, scoring a 35th-place finish overall, while Graybill was Penn State's fifth-and-final scorer at the Penn State National, also recording a 35th-place effort individually.
In line for the individual titles will likely be Reid, Marino, and Bogdana Mimic of Villanova, Infield and Jones of Georgetown, and Banfich of Princeton, along with George Washington's Megan Hogan. Hogan was the lone individual qualifier out of the Mid-Atlantic last year, and would go on to a 27th-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
Women's Field/Rankings (USTFCCCA, Rank; Region, Rank)
American (Mid-Atlantic, No. 15)
Men's Race Preview:
The men's field is also just as loaded at the front, with a trio of programs in the national top 30, and a fourth team just outside the rankings in 35th. Ivy League Champion Princeton is the top ranked squad coming into the weekend at 17th, with junior front-runner Donn Cabral leading a seasoned Tiger squad. Cabral used an individual victory to pace the Tigers, who are much improved from a sixth-place regional finish a year ago, to a third-place finish in the team standings in a loaded field at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational last month, prior to earning a sixth-place standing at the Pre-Nationals Blue Race. The Tigers dominated the Ivy League two weeks ago, winning their fourth title in the last five years, thanks to four athletes in the top eight finishers.
The No. 26 Nittany Lions have impressed during the course of the fall campaign, entering the national spotlight via a fifth-place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational, in which the Lions knocked off a total of five nationally-ranked programs in the race, including regional foe Villanova, and then fifth-ranked Alabama. The Nittany Lions' fall success has hinged on the outstanding one-two punch of Dawson and McNally, who both earned all-conference finishes, marking the first time two Penn State men have earned All-Big Ten honors at the same meet in a decade. Dawson and McNally provided a two-three finish at the highly competitive PSU National in October, leading the team to a second-place showing. McNally led the way at Notre Dame, placing seventh in a field chalked full of NCAA All-Americans, with Dawson following in 13th overall.
The Nittany Lion men have also succeeded on depth and strength of the pack, with seniors Owen Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.), and Ryan Foster (Tasmania, Australia), junior Chris Cipro (Harmony, Pa.), and sophomore Danny Pawola (Naperville, Ill.) all turning in outstanding campaigns thus far. Foster posted a stellar effort as the Lions' third man at the Big Ten meet, placing 27th overall, with Pawola just behind in 34th. Cipro, who was the Lions' third finisher at the Penn State National, rounded out the scoring for the Lions at Big Tens with a 46th-place effort. The Lions' young and talented top seven contingent has also included sophomores Tom Luff (Emmaus, Pa.) and Tyler Corkedale (West Windsor, N.J.), and freshman Nick Scarpello (Jamison, Pa.) throughout the season.
Also in the hunt will be Big East rivals Villanova and Georgetown. Villanova claimed an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships via a second-place finish at the Mid-Atlantic Regional a year ago, while the Hoyas return as the defending region champions. Going into the weekend, Villanova holds the edge at No. 29 in the USTFCCCA rankings, with Georgetown just outside the top 30 in 35th. Wildcat sophomore Matt Mildenhall is the region's top returner, following a runner-up effort as a rookie in 2009. Teammate Hugo Beamish also returns after a fourth-place finish in the region last year. Mildenhall would go on to lead the Wildcats to an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Championships last year, while the Hoyas wound up 22nd overall.
Villanova bettered Georgetown in their last meeting, with the Wildcats taking fourth and the Hoyas placing sixth at the Big East Championships. Ayalew Taye of Georgetown was the top finisher from either squad in fifth, with Mildenhall following in eighth. Villanova's top effort during the regular season was a third-place finish at the Penn State National, while Georgetown engineered a sixth-place finish in the White Race at Pre-Nationals on the same weekend.
Men's Field/Rankings (USTFCCCA, Rank; Region, Rank)
American (Mid-Atlantic, No. 7)