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Cross Country Announces Largest Recruiting Class in UMBC History
Cross Country Head Coach Matt Gittermann
BALTIMORE—UMBC head cross country coach Matt Gittermann announced today that he will welcome 13 student-athletes to the Retrievers in the 2010-11 school year, the largest incoming cross country class in the history of the program. Featuring nine male and four female athletes, the class will make an impact on both the cross country and the track and field teams in the long sprints all the way up to the 10,000-meter run.
“I can’t help but to be excited by this incoming class,” Gittermann said. “It is going to bring in the depth that we have been missing for so many years and will lead us to have the largest cross country teams in the history of the school.”
One of the leading male runners of the class is Brandan McGee (Hiram, Ohio), who finished fifth at the Ohio State Cross Country Championships, 10th at the Mid-East Cross Country Championships and second in the 3,200-meter run at the Ohio State Indoor Track Championships for Crestwood High School.
“With Brandan we are getting a tough runner who will come in and be one of our best cross country runners from day one,” the coach said.
Vinny DiSalvo, a steeplechaser from Washingtonville, N.Y., recently finished third at the New York State Championships in the steeplechase and currently holds the nation’s sixth best time in the event. In addition to the steeple, DiSalvo finished 15th in the New York State AA Cross Country Championships for Washingtonville High School.
“With Vinny, we are getting one of the best specialists in the nation who will quickly be in contention for the conference title,” Gittermann said. “I was impressed the year by the progression he made in other events as well, and should be an asset in every season.”
Nic Escobar of Magruder High School in Derwood, Md. earned bronze at the Maryland State Outdoor Track and Field Championships and placed fourth at the indoor meet in the 3,200-meter run. He also was the second fastest Marylander at the Footlocker Regional meet a week after finishing second in the Battle of the Potomac meet.
“Nic can immediately pay dividends in cross country and has the range to contribute in the mile up the 10,000m,” the coach said.
Tommy Eldridge of Rocky River High School in Rocky River, Ohio could be a darkhorse and see the most improvement from high school to the collegiate ranks.
“I believe that the two- and three- mile distances of high school races were too short for him to show his true abilities,” Gittermann said. “Looking at some of his training runs, I think he will be one of those rare freshmen that show a penchant for the eight kilometer and ten kilometer distances.”
Evan McKee of Medina, Ohio recently finished seventh at the Ohio State Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 800-meter run, was also part of the 4x400 and 4x800-meter relays that qualified for state’s and was a member of the Medina High School cross country team, which has been one of the premier teams in the region.
“With Evan, we get another tough competitor who has spent most of his time and focus on the 800-meter run,” the coach said. “He has never competed in the indoor season, so with the additional events in college, I believe he has the potential to be exceptional in events such as the 1,000-meter run, the mile and the steeplechase.”
Perhaps the most versatile athlete coming in, Jake Albino of New Hampton, N.Y. had a meet earlier in the year where he won the 110-meter hurdles, the 3,200-meter run and the triple jump and another where he won the 200- and 400-meter dashes, the 110-meter hurdles and the 3,200-meter run. His best event is the 800-meter run, where he placed 10th at the National Scholastic Indoor Track and Field Championships.
“Jake has the athletic ability to encompass all the distance events as well as the 400-meter hurdles, the long sprints and the jump events,” Gittermann said. “I expect when we provide him with a more narrow focus, he will put down some extraordinary times in the 800m and the mile.”
Andrew Smith of Garnet Valley High School in Chadds Ford, Pa. was a premier junior in the state before fought mononucleosis his senior season.
“Andrew battled through mono last year when most people would have given up,” the coach said. “I expect him to get that solid summer of base training he was missing from last year and be a great runner for us.”
Jon Constantinides was a part of Damascus High School’s Maryland State Cross Country and Indoor Track and Field Championship teams, contributing a leg on the state championship 4x800-meter relay. At the outdoor meet, he finished fifth in the 800-meter run and was a part of the title-winning 4x800-meter relay team.
“I am really excited to have Jon be part of the team next year after having such a successful year,” Gittermann said. “He has the speed to run the 400m, but will most likely find his role in the 500-meter or 800-meter runs.
Rounding out the incoming class on the men’s side is Liam Stott of Chapel Hill High School of Carrboro, N.C.. Stott was a member of the North Carolina 3A State Cross Country Championship team and finished third in the 800-meter run at the 3A Outdoor Track and Field Regional meet.
“Liam has the capability, with hurdling experience to add some depth to the steeplechase,” the coach said. “Additionally, I feel that he will provide us with value in a multitude of events, wherever we have needs, due to his versatility.”
On the women’s side, Cody Mezebish of South Caroll High School in Westminster, Md. will be making the transition from long sprinter to a middle-distance and cross country runner. She finished second in the 300-meter dash at the Maryland State Indoor Track and Field Championships and second in the 400-meter dash at the outdoor meet, but with no summer training, went out for cross country and won her division at the Bull Run Invitational.
“I believe that with a summer of training, she will be one of our leading cross country runners and one of the better 800-meter runners in the conference,” Gittermann said.
Kirsten McGovern of Century High School in Sykesville, Md. was one of the leading runners within her classification in Maryland, recently placing second in the 3,200-meter run and contributing a leg on the state championship 4x800-meter relay at the Maryland State Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
“Kirsten always seemed to raise her game when the moment demanded and always had her best races in the biggest races,” the coach said.
Jasmine Martin of Meade High School in Jessup, Md. could be the darkhorse on the women’s side as Gittermann compares to her to current UMBC member, rising junior Keri Wilson.
“She’s similar to Keri, who had shown promise in high school, but really broke out in the college ranks,” the coach said. “They seem to have had a very similar progression over their high school years and I expect great things from her.”
Rounding out the class is Megan Irminger of Severna Park, Md.. She was a part of the Severna Park High School cross country team that won the Maryland State Championships, but mainly focused on hurdles during the track season.
“With a good summer of training, I believe we will find a lot of potential in her transition to longer events,” Gittermann said.