Last Saturday, the men’s cross country team travelled to Newvillle, Pennsylvania, for the NCAA DIII Cross Country Mid-East Regional Championship. In a field of over 50 teams, the Barons proved they belonged with a 14th place finish, their highest in program history.
With temperatures hovering around freezing and a course littered with difficult hills, the men had to battle all the way to the line. They were led by standout freshman Liam Galligan, who placed 19th overall. Galligan was able to use the hills to his advantage and move up throughout the middle and latter stages of the race. Finishing in a time of 25:48, he was only a few places away from securing a spot to Nationals.
A combination of juniors and freshman took care of the rest of the scoring for the Barons. After a crowded start that saw the Barons come through the first mile much slower than expected, they were able to gain ground on the toughest hill section of the course. This put them in good position by the 5k mark and ultimately allowed them to finish where they did.
Junior Grady Stuckman finished second for the Barons in 96th place with a time of 27:08. He was closely followed by Freshman Mark Borek who finished in 105th place at 27:15. Junior Nick Long, who was the Barons 4th man, posted a time of 27:32, which was good for 123th place. Freshman Athanasius Sirilla rounded out the scoring with a personal record time of 27:34, earning him 128th place.
This performance capped off a tremendously successful season for the men, which saw them finish 16 places higher than they did at the Mid-East Regional last year. They were also able to take down conference foe Penn St.-Behrend, who beat them at the AMCC Championship meet just two weeks prior. The team also returns all seven men that toed the starting line Saturday. The team is poised to make noise not only on regional level, but on the national stage in the coming years.