November 9, 2006

Red Preps for Regionals

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It’s NCAA time for the cross country teams this weekend, as members of the squads hope for strong performances at NCAA Regionals to catapult them to national title berths. The men’s and women’s teams had fifth- and third- place finishes, respectively, at Heps, which signified the start of their postseasons. Both teams broke numerous school records and proved that they were forces to be reckoned with.

The women’s team hopes to continue its strong season at the NCAA Regionals, believing that the team is one of the stronger ones in the field.

One of the Red’s goals this season is to qualify for the NCAA championships. They will have a chance to do so with a top-2 finish at Regionals. There are 13 at-large teams are also selected for the championships, but the Harriers want to stay focused on achieving the automatic bid this weekend.

“It’s a lot to think about,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “The only thing we can do is go in and have the best race possible.”

The Red had a third-place finish at Heps, where many of its runners set personal-record times. The squad is hoping for a similarly successful outcome when it travels back to New York City for the NCAA Regional.

“I want to get a personal record,” said senior Toni-Lynn Salucci. “Making nationals would be awesome but I’m trying not to focus on that.”

Even if the Red doesn’t finish in the top-2, it will still have a chance to make the tournament by getting an at-large bid.

“We have a really strong region,” Salucci said. “But we still have a decent shot at getting an at-large.”

The Harriers strong season can be credited to the depth and performance of the team’s seniors. One of those seniors is Nyam Kagwima, who finished third at Heps.

“I can’t predict the outcome of Regionals,” Kagwima said. “But I do know that all of us will be giving our best effort and that’s what really matters.”

Senior captain Robyn Ellerbrock has also had a stellar year and hopes to cap it off with a trip to nationals.

“Our seniors are great,” Salucci said. “They’ve really stepped it up for their final season. They’re one of the reasons why we’ve done so well this year.”

Men’s senior captain Brad Baird leads a very young men’s team that is excited for the future. Junior Jimmy Wyner has been running well as of late for the Red, having lead the men’s team to second place at Heps.

Despite being a young team, the Red are still confident in its ability to perform at the upcoming NCAA Regionals. The squad hopes to qualify for the NCAA championships, but knows that it will be a difficult task to achieve.

“The region is much stronger than last year,” Baird said. “The top-2 in the tournament automatically get in but it is going to be tough.”

The men have had a solid showing this season considering their collective youth, but the ability and depth of this talent has become very noticeable. Baird and senior David Shenk are the only seniors left on the team, but they hope to lead the Red to a strong finish on the season.