BALTIMORE – With the men collecting their first America East championship since 2005, and the women posting their best-ever finish at the conference race two weeks ago, the UMBC cross country teams return to Lehigh for the 2013 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional meet, Friday afternoon in Bethlehem, Pa. The men's 10k race will kick-off the day's events with a 12:00 p.m. start with the women's 6k race set for a 1:15 p.m. start time.
Using All-Conference performances from sophomore Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) and senior Andrew Smith (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley), the Retriever men edged out meet-host Binghamton for their first conference title in nearly ten years. Omar led the way for UMBC for the third time this season by placing third overall with an 8k time of 25:07.32, while Smith improved his time from the pre-conference race on the same course by 46 seconds to finish with a time of 25:20.35.
The victory at the conference championship meet helped UMBC hold on to its No. 10 ranking in the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Poll. The Retrievers have been ranked in coaches' poll every week this season, a first for the program.
Behind Omar and Smith, senior Jake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley), who scored in each of the Retrievers' five meets this season, took 12th overall. Sophomore Austin Hayslett (Mount Airy, Md./Urbana) crossed the finish line three seconds back in 14th and senior Brandan McGee (Hiram, Ohio/Crestwood) earned a top-20 finish in 19th.
For the women, senior Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) led UMBC for the third straight time this season, taking 15th at the America East Championships. Paced by the senior, the Retrievers finished in fifth-place for their best-ever finish in their 11 years in the conference.
Sophomore Nicole Dawson (Jessup, Md./Hammond) continued her scoring string, crossing the line as the second Retriever finisher. Dawson paced the UMBC squad at each of the team's first two meets of the season, then pushed her streak to 12 straight meets with a scoring slot at the Paul Short Invitational, Princeton Invitational, and then the conference meet.
Just three spots behind Dawson, senior Sarah Daly (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) finished in 33rd to earn a scoring spot for the third time this season while junior Julie Gessler (Ellicott City, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) and senior Kirsten McGovern (Sykesville, Md./Century) placed back-to-back in 44th and 45th.