UMBC Cross Country Returns to Upstate New York Looking to Claim Conference Titles

BALTIMORE – Following a weekend off from competition, the UMBC cross country program heads to upstate New York for the 2013 America East Championships, Saturday, Nov. 2 at Binghamton University.  The women's 5k race is set to kick-off at 11:00 a.m. with the men's 8k race scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m.

The men's team returns to Vestal looking to build upon their team title from the America East Pre-Conference Meet, held on the same course, back in early September.  The Retrievers will try to overcome 2012 champion Stony Brook and earn their first conference title since 2005 when they took home the trophy with a first-place team finish also at Binghamton. 

Junior Eric Schuler (Columbia, Md./Reservoir) paced the field back in the first race of the year, completing the course with the second-fastest time in its history (25:33.1), and went on to be named the conference Performer of the Week. 

Sophomores Redatu Semeon (Waldorf, Md./Thomas Stone) and Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) finished in second and fourth that day to jump start their successful second seasons.  Since, Semeon has gone on to score at the Navy Invitational (Sept. 14) and then led the Retrievers across the line at the Paul Short Run with a career-best 8k time of 25:02.  Omar, meanwhile, has scored in each of UMBC's four meets in 2013, leading the Retrievers at Navy, and again two weeks ago at the Princeton Invitational.  In New Jersey, Omar posted a school-record time of 24:21 to finish 16th overall and lead the Black and Gold to a seventh-place tie with America East rival Binghamton.  The following Tuesday, Omar joined Schuler as an America East Performer of the Week honoree.

Along with Omar, senior Jake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley) has scored in all four competitions for UMBC, including an 11th-place at the Pre-Conference race.  Senior Andrew Smith (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley) has scored in three meets, while sophomore Austin Hayslett (Mount Airy, Md./Urbana) has earned a scoring spot twice.

The Retriever women enter Saturday's race trying to break into the top half of the conference standings after a steady invitational season.  UMBC took third at the America East race back on Sept. 7 and were paced by sophomore Nicole Dawson (Jessup, Md./Hammond) who finished in 11th.  Dawson also led the Black and Gold the next week at Navy, and then earned scoring spots at the Paul Short Run at Lehigh and the Princeton Invitational.

Senior captain Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) has led UMBC this season, taking the top spot for the team at the last two meets.  Mezebish finished with her top 6k time of the season (22:21) at Lehigh and then guided the team to a tenth-place finish at Princeton.

Freshman Sarah Zielinski (Boonsboro, Md./Boonsboro) has provided a boost for the Retriever women this season, scoring in three of the squad's four races, while senior Kirsten McGovern (Sykesville, Md./Century), junior Sarah Daly (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion), sophomore Angel Bucci (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby), and freshman Cindy Alms (Fulton, Md./Reservoir) each scored twice.