BALTIMORE – After a week off from competition, but less than two weeks removed from the America East Championships, the UMBC cross country teams take to the course this Friday, Nov. 9 for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships. The women will kick-off the event, hosted by Penn State at the Blue-White Golf Courses, with a 6,000-meter race beginning at 12 p.m. with the men's 10,000-meter race following at 1:15 p.m.
The men's squad placed third at the conference championships in New Hampshire, the team's highest finish since winning the event back in 2005. The Retrievers were led once again by junior Brandan McGee(Hiram, Ohio/Crestwood) who completed the 8K course in 25:55.64 to finish seventh and garner all-conference accolades. McGee's finish at UNH was the fifth time this season in which he has led the Retrievers, including a 16th place finish at the Princeton Invitational when he broke the school record with an 8K time of 24:45.65. UMBC also received strong runs from junior Tom Eldridge (Rocky River, Ohio/Rocky River) and sophomore Eric Schuler (Columbia, Md./Reservoir) who placed 15th and 16th, respectively.
In addition to McGee leading the Retrievers five times, Schuler and junior Vinny DiSalvo(Washingtonville, N.Y./Washingtonville) have also paced the squad this season. DiSalvo crossed the line in fifth place overall at the five-mile Towson Invitational on Sept. 21 while Schuler took 18th the very next week at the Mason Invitational.
For the women, captain Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) led the team for the fourth time this season at the America East race as the squad placed eighth overall. Mezebish finished the 5K course in 18:21.16, placing 33rd overall in the race. Two weeks earlier in Princeton, the junior set a team, season-best mark for 6K races, 23:03.50, while leading UMBC. Mezebish also scored in the two meets in which she did not lead the squad, the season-opening Spider Alumni Open and the Towson Invitational.
Just 17 seconds behind Mezebish at the conference competition, junior Kirsten McGovern (Sykesville, Md./Century) has scored in four of the Retrievers' six meets this season, leading the team at the 5K Towson Invite. Sophomore Sarah Daly (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion), the only other competitor to lead UMBC across the line, did so at the first meet of the season, hosted by Richmond. Freshman Nicole Dawson (Jessup, Md./Hammond) has competed strongly for the Retrievers all season and is the only runner besides Mezebish to score in all six meets.
The NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships serve as a qualifier for the NCAA Cross Country Championships which will be run on Saturday, Nov. 17 at the University of Louisville. The top two finishing teams at the Regional will receive automatic bids to the NCAA Championships with the remaining teams placed in the "at-large" pool. A total of 31 teams will be entered into the NCAA race in Louisville.