If the UMBC men’s cross country program had its way, the America East would make Binghamton University the permanent host of the league championships.
In our #retriever50for50 countdown, Matt Gittermann’s 2013 squad comes in at No. 45. Under Head Coach Murray Davis, UMBC captured the 2005 league title on the Vestal, N.Y. course. Eight years later, on Nov. 2, 2013, the black and gold looked to repeat that feat.
Conference teams had run the course to start the 2013 campaign and UMBC edged Binghamton by a narrow six-point margin. The Retrievers knew the Bearcats would have revenge on their minds and have the support of the home crowd in central New York.
But then-sophomore Hassan Omar served notice that he would be a force to deal with as he improved his time over the course by over 30 seconds and crossed the tape in third place. Senior Andrew Smith joined Omar on the all-conference team by placing tenth, but with Binghamton, Stony Brook and UNH dominating the race, every runner’s finish would be crucial to the determining the outcome.
Three Retrievers – senior Jake Albino, sophomore Austin Hayslett and senior Brandan McGee – all placed in the top 20 as the black and gold totaled 58 points, outpacing Binghamton (65), Stony Brook (70) and UNH (72).
With the Retriever win, head coach Matt Gittermann and his staff was named the 2013 America East Coaching Staff of the Year.
UMBC would go on to place a school-best ninth in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic regionals two weeks later at Lehigh. And Omar would go to become the best male cross country student-athlete in program history.