The men’s and women’s cross country teams both placed second in their respective regional competitions this past Saturday at the NCAA South/Southeast Regional Championships in Newport News, Va.
The men’s team finished behind Bridgewater College (Va.). Bridgewater’s top five runners amassed 74 while Emory combined for 91 points. Senior Eddie Mulder and junior Tyler Cooke led the Emory men’s team, placing seventh and 13th overall, respectively.
Mulder ran at a 3:10 per kilometer pace, while the first-place runner, John Kieffer from Centre College (Ky.), ran at a 3:04 per kilometer pace. Seniors Hank Ashforth and Alex Fleischhacker, along with junior Patrick Crews, rounded out Emory’s top five, finishing 19th, 22nd and 30th, respectively.
Mulder finished with an 8K time of 25:17, a personal best. Cooke wasn’t far behind with a time of 25:41, also a personal best.
Ashforth crossed the finish line at 25:54, while Fleischhacker was a mere five seconds behind. Crews completed the pack with a time of 26:11. All five runners were named to the All-Region Team.
The women’s team finished behind Trinity University (Texas), with the victors earning 34 points, including three of the top four finishers. Emory finished second with 76 points. Junior Tamara Surtees and senior Emily Caesar led Emory’s team, both finishing in the top 10 overall. Surtees finished sixth and Caesar placed eighth.
Surtees ran at a pace of 3:46 per kilometer while the first place finisher, Maddie Murphy of Trinity (Texas) ran at a pace of 3:36 per kilometer. Junior Marissa Gogniat, freshman Michelle Kagei and Meredith Lorch rounded out the top five for Emory, finishing 13th, 23rd and 26th, respectively.
Surtees finished with a time of 22:37, while Caesar finished just a second behind. Gogniat chipped in a 22:59.
This Saturday, the Emory teams travel to Hanover, Ind., to compete in the NCAA Division III Championships. With a strong second place finish for both teams in the South/Southeast Regional Championships, the Emory teams are in contention to compete for a top 10 ranking in the nation.
The women’s team has not placed lower than 15th in a meet this season and the men’s team has not placed lower than seventh place in any meet.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are particularly deep, with all of the top five men’s runners finishing in the top 30 in the Regional Championships.
The women’s team had six runners place within the top 30 at the Regional Championships this past Saturday.
This Saturday is the final meet of the season for both teams. After a long season of training and hard work in meets and practices, the Emory teams get their chance to prove their place among the best teams in NCAA Division III. It has been a great season for both teams so far, and Saturday will provide the final test.
– By Shawn Farshchi