The UMBC's men's and women's cross country teams will compete in their 16th America East Cross Country Championships this Saturday, Oct. 27 in Nashua, N.H. The meets will be held at Mine Falls Park as UMass Lowell serves as the host institution. With chilly temperatures expected, the men's race gets underway at 2:00 p.m., while the women compete at 3:00 p.m.
America East Championship Central is the place to get all the information, including live streaming of the meet.
Where: Mine Falls Park, in Nashua, N.H. (Host School: UMass Lowell)
When: Saturday, October 27 – Men's Race (8k), 2:00 p.m., Women's Race (5k) 3:00 p.m. Defending Champions: New Hampshire (women), Stony Brook (men)
2017 UMBC Finish: Women (8th of 9), Men (8th of 9)
How to Watch: Live video available at AmericaEast.tv
Social Media: @umbcxctr, @UMBCAthletics, @AmericaEast, @AEDigitalNet, #RetrieverNation, #AEChamps #AEXC
Worth Noting, Ladies First
Kelsey Ponton (Laurel, Md./Reservoir) has produced an outstanding senior campaign for the Retrievers. She has led UMBC across the line in the last three meets, including a 23rd-place finish in a field of 222 competitors at the Princeton Invitational.
Ponton posted a career-best time of 22:09.6, chopping over 30 seconds over her previous top mark, recorded at the Paul Short Run two weeks ago. She was the second America East runner to finish in a field that included Stony Brook, UMass Lowell and Binghamton.
Junior Kaya Knake (Canton, Mich.) was the second Retriever finisher at Princeton – her top team positioning of the season - placing in the top half of the field (101st) with a mark of 23:30.08. Freshman Morgan Casey (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery-Blair) came was 14 places behind Knake at 23:44.7.
Casey has finished in the Retriever Top 3 in all four meets this season. She was the team's top finisher at the season-opening Mount St. Mary's 5k Duals on August 31.
Junior Briana Roberts (Pennsauken, N.J) led UMBC at last year's championships, held in Vermont. Roberts completed the course in a time of 19:29.96, placing 50th in the field.
The UMBC women are seeking their first America East Conference title. Their best finish was a fourth-place effort in 2014. The team's best individual finisher was Sophia Cologer, who placed fifth in the 2016 Championships, held at Jerusalem Mill and hosted by UMBC.
And the Gentlemen
Seniors Matt Kingeter (Glencoe, Md./Hereford) and Nathan Nadal (Silver Spring, Md./Wootton) have led the Retrievers in their final seasons. Kingeter, whose participation was limited in 2017 due to injury, has been UMBC's top finisher in the last two meets. He placed 64th overall in the 8k race at the Princeton Invitational two weeks ago after crossing 108th overall at the Paul Short Run on Sept. 29.
Nadal authored UMBC's best overall finish of the year and has trailed only Kingeter for the black-and-gold in the last two meets. He had placed fourth overall at the Navy Invite on Sept. 13, completing the 8k course in 25:58.73.
Junior Brian Cave (Sykesville, Md./South Carroll) turned in the best performance of his career, leading the Retrievers with an impressive sixth-place finish at the season-opening Mount St. Mary's Duals on August 31.
Senior Matthew Kane (Sykesville, Md./Century) and Nadal placed third and fifth respectively for the Retrievers at last year's meet, held in Vermont. Kane placed 48th (26:41.70) and Nadal 54th (26:51.08) for UMBC.
The Retriever men have captured two team titles both on the course at Binghamton University in 2005 and in 2013. UMBC coaching staffs, led by Murray Davis in 2005 and Matt Gittermann in 2013, earned Coach/Staff of the Year honors in those meets. UMBC posted third-place finishes in 2012 and 2014.
Hassan Omar is the Retrievers' lone medalist, male or female, at the league championships. Omar captured the title in 2015 at Stony Brook, winning the race in a time of 24:43.
Quotable, from Head Coach Matt Gittermann
What are your expectations heading into Saturday for both the men and women?
The biggest expectation we are going to have is, `have you shown growth as an individual athlete and as a team since the beginning of the year.' The only thing we can look at is, did we getter better from day one of the season?"
Conditions are supposed to be very challenging Saturday. Is there is as much mental prep as physical prep when trying to "weather" those type of conditions?
"It really depends on what your team is looking to do and the make-up of your individuals (athletes). I think it plays more into our hands than the opposite."
Talk about the outstanding efforts you've gotten from your seniors – Ponton, Nadal, Kingeter -- this season and their motivation to perform their best now in post-season?
"They have put in their time and effort over four years, so it's easy for them to find that extra gear being their last time out (at the America East Championships). All of them have overachieved beyond our initial expectations of four years ago, so that would lend me to believe that they feed off of and benefit from the `last time' motivation."