At UMBC's 2005 Homecoming, Retriever men's cross country celebrated the 30th anniversary of the 1975 cross country team's Mason Dixon (Division II) conference title. Many of the members of that team, led by Head Coach Jim Pfrogner, gathered to recollect about the upset victory that they pulled off in the early days of the program.
The following weekend, October 28, 2005 to be exact, the "modern-day" UMBC harriers pulled off a similar feat, shocking the America East Conference and capturing the league title. That emotional victory lands at No. 27 on the #retriever50for50 countdown.
UMBC was picked to finish fifth in the preseason coaches' poll, the spot that they had occupied at the 2004 championships. But on an overcast, chilly day in Vestal, N.Y., the sight of black and gold amongst the top group of runners began to unnerve fans of league heavyweights UNH, Maine and Boston University.
The first five Retrievers to finish came across the line from fourth to 16th place and once the math was completed, exuberant teammates, coaching staff and family members covered themselves with grass, mud and glory in central New York.
The Retrievers scored 52 points to out-pace preseason favorite New Hampshire (62) and Maine (71).
Izudin Mehmedovic led UMBC with a fourth-place finish and J.J. Wetzel finished eighth, both earning all-conference accolades for their performances. Moreover, Head Coach Murray Davis and his staff were selected as men's coaching staff of the year for the conference.
There was another UMBC all-conference performer present that day in Binghamton. Robert Cartwright, '80, economics, competed on the 1975 Retriever team and watched his son Ryan, '06, information systems, follow in his footsteps.
Pfrogner (inducted 2003) and Mehmedovic (2015) are both members of the UMBC Athletics Hall of Fame.