Men’s and Women’s XC finish in middle of the pack

By Chris Corso

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Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

The UMass men’s cross-country team finished in the middle of the pack with a total of 506 points Saturday in the NCAA Regional Championships at Buffalo. While the Minutemen placed a solid 19th in a field of 33 teams, Syracuse took home first place with a total 54 points.

Graduate student Sean Duncan finished 35th overall for UMass at the event, which is the highest finish by any Minutemen runner in three years at NCAA Regional meets.

It was the fifth time this season that Duncan was the first runner for UMass to cross the line. The Garner, Mass. native finished with a 32:34.1 time – the best since Minuteman runner Nils Fisher placed 29th in 2008.

Other top finishers behind Duncan for UMass were Jared Reddy and Antony Taylor. The sophomores clocked in at 33:21.0 and 33:38.3, respectively. Reddy finished 83rd and Taylor followed his fellow Minuteman in 108th.

The last two impact harriers for UMass were sophomore Patrick McGowan and senior Patrick McAllister. Both Patricks were just two spots apart at 139th and 141rst for the Minutemen.

The team will hit the course for the last time this fall next weekend for the IC4A Championships Saturday.

Women’s team finishes at NCAA’s

The seniors for the Minutewomen cross-country team ran for their last time as UMass finished 21st of 36 teams Saturday morning. The team was led by senior Karen Roa, who has been at the head of every meet for Julie LaFreniere’s squad.

Syracuse took the crown on the women’s side as well with a total of 116 points.

Roa led UMass with a time of 22:14.5 and completed a season in which she was the top Minutewomen runner in every meet. The Jamaica, N.Y. native is the first women’s harrier to finish at the top of every meet for UMass since Courtney Baldwin did the same in 2009.

A promise for the future was seen in standout freshman Rachel Hilliard who followed Roa at a mark of 23:31.3. This placed the freshman at 133rd overall.

The two juniors finished next for the women’s team as co-captain Danielle McNiff and junior Courtney Baldwin proved to be two candidates of leaders for next year’s team. The two were seven spots apart with McNiff placing 141th and Baldwin placing 148th overall with times of 23:36.7 and 23:44.8, respectively.

Another freshman for the Minutewomen rounded up the scoring as Katie Powers clocked in at 23:50.1, which resulted in a 155th finish.

The young Minutewomen will say goodbye to their one senior, Roa, who holds a UMass record for her time of 11:49.37 in the Distance Medley Relay.

The UMass woman’s indoor track and field season will begin in January at the Sparks Sorlein Invitational.

Chris Corso can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Corso.