The UMBC men's and women's cross country squads will compete in the America East Championships on Saturday, Oct. 28 in St. Alban's City, Vermont. The races will take place at the Hard'ack Recreation Area and the University of Vermont will serve as the host institution. The women's 5k race gets underway at 11:00 a.m., while the men's 8k race follows at noon.
Meet Info- America East Championships
Where: Hard'ack Recreation Area, in St. Albans City, Vt. (Host School: Univ. of Vermont)
When: Saturday, October 28 – Women's Race (5k) 11:00 a.m., Men's Race (8k), noon
Defending Champions: New Hampshire (women), Stony Brook (men)
2017 UMBC Finish: Women (5th of 9), Men (8th of 9)
How to Watch: Live video available at AmericaEast.tv
Social Media: @umbcxctr, @UMBCAthletics, @AmericaEast, @AEDigitalNet, #RetrieverNation, #AEChamps #AEXC
Women's Season in Review: UMBC opened the season in traditional fashion, competing in the Mount St. Mary's 5k Duals. Running in unseasonably cool conditions on Sept. 1, the Retrievers bested the host Mountaineers, 16-44, and Franklin Pierce, 23-35, but were defeated by strong sides from Navy, GW, American and Maryland.
Senior Courtney Mattson (Prince Frederick, Md.) was the first Retriever to cross the tape, finishing in a time of 19:16.06. It was Mattson's first time leading her teammates in a meet and she sliced 35 seconds off her 2016 time at the same meet. A trio of Retrievers finished in a seven-second span, led by sophomore Briana Roberts (Pennsauken, N.J.), who placed 52nd with a mark of 19:48.36. Senior Olivia Richter (Oxford, Conn.) was two places behind at 19:52.80, while sophomore Kaya Knake(Canton, Mich.) scored for the first time in her brief tenure, coming in just behind Richter at 19:55.23.
Eight days later, UMBC competed at Navy's Salty Dog Invitational. Roberts sliced 24 seconds off her time from a year ago and led UMBC for the first time in her brief collegiate career. She placed 26th overall of the 92 competitors with a mark of 24.14.78. Navy (29) won the meet, followed by Maryland (47), American (56), Towson (108), UMBC (138), St. Mary's (199), McDaniel (210) and Bowie State (242).
The Retrievers did not compete again until the final Saturday in September (29th), when they faced the field at the Paul Short Run at Lehigh. Knake became the third different Retriever to lead UMBC across the tape in three competitions this year. The Michigan native bested the 23-minute mark and placed 62nd overall (198 finishers) in a time of 22:58. Roberts came in eight spots behind, with a mark of 23:07 in the 6k race. UMBC finished 16th of the 24 competing teams.
UMBC got in its final preparation for the America East Championships by taking part in the Princeton Invitational on Oct. 14. For the fourth consecutive meet, a different Retriever runner led her teammates across the line. Junior Kelsey Ponton (Laurel, Md.) crossed in 24:13.7, besting the rest of her teammates for the first time in her UMBC tenure. Mattson and Roberts also broke the 25-minute mark, posting times of 24:31.8 and 24.35.4 respectively.
Last Year's America East Championships: UMBC senior Sophia Cologer placed fifth at the America East Cross Country Championships in a meet held at Jerusalem Mill and hosted by UMBC on Oct. 30.
Cologer became UMBC's second women's competitor to earn back-to-back all-conference honors in 14 years of league competition. Sara Parkinson placed ninth and sixth in 2008 and 2009 respectively for the Retrievers.
Cologer paced UMBC to a fifth-place finish. UNH edged Stony Brook, 45-47, for the team title. UMass Lowell placed third (67), followed by Vermont (89) and UMBC (105). The Retrievers enjoyed a wide edge over sixth-place finisher Albany (183).
Two other Retriever finished in the top 20. Senior Katelyn Callaghan (Downingtown, Pa.) crossed the 5k course in a time of 18:08.6, good for 18th position, while Richter took 20th place in 18:09.7.
In Closing: The UMBC women are seeking their first America East Conference title. Their best finish was a fourth-place effort in 2014.