SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's and women's cross country teams will travel to Center Valley, Pennsylvania on Saturday November 12 to compete in the 2016 NCAA Division III Mid-East Regional Championship hosted by DeSales University.
How we got here
The Sea Gulls competed in five separate meets during the 2016 regular season including two of their own. The men's team captured first on three different occasions including finishing first at both home meets, the Salisbury University Fall Classic and the 28th Annual Don Cathcart Invitational. The women placed in the top 10 in all five meets and finished as high as second twice this season.
Last time out
At the 2016 Capital Athletic Conference Championships Salisbury finished third in both the men's and women's races. Connor Hesselbirg was the top men's finisher for the Sea Gulls placing 11th overall and posting a time of 26:52.2. With his top 15 finish Hesselbirg earned his second straight All-CAC Second Team honor.
On the women's side Alison Schwartz was the highest Salisbury finisher placing fourth overall. Schwartz completed the 6k race in a time of 24:01.0, was the only Sea Gull runner to place in the top 10 between both programs, and earned her first All-CAC First Team accolade.
Salisbury at the NCAA Mid-East Regional Championships
Last season at the regional championships the Salisbury men's team placed 11th overall while the women finished 21st. On the women's side Jamie Farely led the Sea Gulls finishing 112th overall posting a time of 24:27.4. Jessica Lane finished just 11 seconds behind her teammate to place 119th overall finishing the race in a time of 24:38.3.
On the men's side Hesselbirg led Salisbury as the only runner both men and women to finish in the top 50. Hesselbirg posted a time of 26:24.7 finishing in 37th overall. Ben Meister and Malcolm Milton were the next closest runners to Hesselbirg finishing 66th and 71st overall posting times of 26:56.2 and 27:05.5 respectively.
Leading the pack
Schwartz and Hesselbirg have been leaders of both programs from the outset of this season but have certainly not been alone in their leadership roles. With a young crops of runners already beginning to leave their marks on the Salisbury Cross Country program. Underclassmen Fiona Halloran and Abby Potter have stepped up to help in the success of the Sea Gulls season thus far. Both runners placed in the top 20 at the CAC Championships with Potter placing 15th and Halloran finishing 20th overall.
While Hesselbirg is looked to as the leader of the men's program he has not been alone either. Former CAC Rookie of the Year Billy Kirk and freshman runner Branson Oduor have also been crucial to setting the tone for the men's team. Kirk finished 24th overall at the 2016 CAC Championships while Oduor placed 29th helping the Sea Gulls to a third place finish.
The top runners and teams from the Mid-East Regionals will get the opportunity to continue on and compete at the NCAA Division III National Championships in Louisville, Ky. on November 19.