Cross Country

 

Harriers Headed to National Championships

Women's Team Makes History, Men's Team Eyes Second Crown

By Jeffrey Bernstein, New York University
 

For the first time ever, the New York University men’s and women’s cross country teams will both be headed to the NCAA National Championships.

Both teams finished third at their respective NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships, which were held Saturday in Geneseo, NY. Each squad was awarded with an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III National Championship, which will take place Saturday, Nov. 21, in Berea, OH.

Automatic bids for the NCAA National Championship went to first and second-place finishers in the eight regional races. The 16 at-large bids were announced on Sunday afternoon.

While this is the fourth consecutive season, and fifth time overall, that the NYU men have been selected to race in the National Championship, it is the first time that the women’s team has ever received an invitation.

At the Atlantic Regional, the NYU women placed six runners in the top 50, led by 10th-place finisher Joan Kanarkiewicz. Last season, Kanarkiewicz qualified for the National Championship as an individual, but this year she will have her entire team joining her.

Also placing in the top 20 at the Atlantic Regional was freshman Kirsten Keller, who finished in 19th. Such performances by underclassmen like Kanarkiewicz and Keller suggest that the Violets’ program, in its second year under head coach Nick McDonough, will only get stronger in the years to come.

“It is a tremendous accomplishment for these young ladies,” said McDonough. “In building our program, we’ve come a long way these last two years.”

While the women are on the ascent, the men’s team, which has been coached by McDonough for the past 11 seasons, has already arrived. After winning the National Championship in 2007, NYU returned to the race last fall and finished 12th. The Violets finished as the National Runner-Up in 2006 and made its first-ever appearance at nationals in 2004 (23rd place).

Leading the men in their quest to win a second national title in three years will be seniors Zach Maher and Calvin Lee, who finished third and ninth, respectively, at the Atlantic Regional.

“The men had a solid race to qualify (for the National Championship),” said McDonough. “We still haven’t had all seven of our guys run well at the same time. If we can get that I think we will be very competitive. Our guys know what to expect and I don’t think they will be overwhelmed.”

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