This past Saturday, the Lions cross-country teams traveled to the Lafayette College Invitational to participate in a primarily Division I meet. They competed against Columbia University, Princeton University and St. Joseph�s University.
�We are getting faster and faster each week and I anticipate many outstanding individual performances this weekend,� head coach Tim Collins said before the race. �I expect us to be in the top five teams for both races and I expect Brian Donovan to be one of the top individual runners (and) possibly win it.�
The Lions lived up to Collins� expectations.
For the men, senior Brian Donovan led the Lions by placing first in his race with a course record time of 25:45.5. It was his third first-place finish this season. Senior Joe Lacovara-Switzer was not far behind coming in fourth with a time of 26:17.9.
Freshmen Kyle Alpaugh and Brian Kopnicki came in 15th at 26:39.6 and 27th at 26:54.7, respectively.
Seniors Matt Molski, Rob Barger, and Dave Dos Santos rounded out the Lions� top seven runners, coming in 28th (26:56.1), 30th (27:00.1), and 36th (27:13.8), respectively. The men finished third overall.
�I�m happy with my performance, but it wasn�t that hard because the competition wasn�t there,� Donovan said. Donovan has been leading the Lions all season, but also gives credit to his talented team.
�The top 10 (on our team) is a really good pack,� Donovan said. �We should win regionals like we did two years ago.� Donovan also said there will be tough competition in the regional and national tournament.
�It�s going to be interesting,� Donovan said. �There are about five fast people in the region, and Nationals will be crazy because everyone is fast. But if we put it all together and just run like we have been doing all season we will see what happens.�
Donovan is not all the Lions are depending on. Lacovara-Switzer is having a strong season as well.
�He is having an outstanding cross-country season,� Collins said. �Alpaugh has also been stepping up for races as well.�
In the women�s race, freshman Julie Ullmeyer led the Lions, coming in 20th at 22:16.6.
�I am really pleased with how I ran,� Ullmeyer said. �I was having difficulty controlling my mind and this was the first race I was able to break through that.� Collins also commented on Ullmeyer�s break-through performance.
�It was nice to see,� Collins said. �It was a very good race for her because she had been doubting herself this week. It was a happy surprise.�
Junior Jenna Fasulo followed Ullmeyer in 23rd place with a time of 22:22.1. Freshmen Erin Enderly and Jenna Bauberger finished in 28th place (22:22.1) and 38th place (22:43.2.), respectively. Sophomore Kristen Pogorzelski followed in 39th place at 22:43.2, senior Meghan O�Halloran took 41st in 22:47.9 and freshman Sara Best rounded out the Lions� top seven runners at 49th place in a time of 22:59.8. The women finished fifth overall.
�Coach got a lot of recruits this year and it took awhile to get used to college running,� Ullmeyer said. �We wouldn�t be doing as well as we are without the leadership from the older girls on the team.�
Both the men�s and women�s cross country teams agree they have a good chance to get into the NCAA Division III Nationals this year. The women�s team has qualified for Nationals every year for the past eight years.
Collins is confident that both teams will advance again and he is positive that the College is the strongest team in the region.
�I would look for us to be in the top 10 for Nationals,� Donovan said.
The women�s team is also getting anxious for the event.
�We have a pretty good chance for Nationals.� Ullmeyer said. �I don�t know what to expect from it, but I am very excited.�
First on the team�s agenda, however, is the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championships. The NJAC meet will be on Oct. 30 at Richard Stockton College.