BALTIMORE – Two weeks after a record-breaking performance at the Princeton Invitational, the UMBC cross country teams head to New Hampshire for the America East Championships on Saturday at College Woods outside of Durham, N.H. The meet, hosted by the University of New Hampshire, will begin at 10 a.m. with the women's 5K race, followed by the men's 8K race at 11 a.m.
In New Hampshire, both the men's and women's squads will attempt to improve upon their eighth place finishes at last year's championships in Albany, N.Y., and each look to have the depth to do so.
Behind junior Brandan McGee (Hiram, Ohio/Crestwood), who broke the school record at Princeton for 8K competitions, the Retrievers had each of their first ten runners complete the course in 26:00 or better for the first time in school history. With the strong team performance, UMBC placed fifth overall, ahead of America East rivals Stony Brook (8th) and Binghamton (10th).
McGee led the pack by finishing in a school-record time of 24:45.65, but was followed closely byJake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley), Tom Eldridge (Rocky River, Ohio/Rocky River), Vinny DiSalvo (Washingtonville, N.Y./Washingtonville), and Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson), all of whom now rank among the top-ten in school history for that distance. Senior TJ Cowing (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) and sophomore Eric Schuler (Columbia, Md./Reservoir) finished just back of that group, but round of the top-ten list.
For McGee, it was his third time leading UMBC across the line, but first since placing 13th at the Navy Invitational on Sept. 15. DiSalvo and Schuler have also finished as the Retrievers' top runner, leading the way at the Towson Invitational and Mason Invitational, respectively, and have combined to score six times this season.
For the women, captain Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) has led by example all season for the Retrievers. The junior has paced the team three times in 2012 after leading the charge at Princeton, finishing in 66th with team-best and personal season-best time of 23:03.50. In addition to leading the team on three occasions, Mezebish has scored in each of the other two competitions for the Black and Gold this season. Freshman Nicole Dawson once again crossed the line second for UMBC – her third straight meet doing so – less than half a minute after Mezebish.
Although neither of them scored in Princeton, junior Kirsten McGovern (Sykesville, Md./Century) and sophomore Sarah Daly (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) have combined to score seven other times and each led the Retrievers across the line once this season. Daly led off the season with a strong performance at the Spider Alumni Open while McGovern led UMBC for the first time in her career at the Towson Invitational.