COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland cross country team returns to competition this Friday, November 11 at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships. The event, hosted by Penn State in State College Pa., will feature over 30 squads from throughout the region with the top finishing teams and individuals earning bids to the NCAA Championships. The women’s race on the “Blue” 6K course is slated to begin at noon.
Maryland is coming off a 12th place finish at the Big Ten Championships on October 30, and will look to improve upon its 13th place finish at the 2015 Regionals.
Alexandra Lucki turned in the best-ever individual finish for the Terps at the Big Ten Championship, taking 31st in the field to highlight Maryland’s runners on the day. The team’s top-five runners all placed within the top-100.
Seniors Sydney Almeida and Alexa Squirini have provided a steady nucleus for the Terps throughout the 2016 campaign, as the pair has finished in the top-five in all four meets this season. Freshman Kathryn Gearhart continues to make an impact in her first collegiate campaign, finishing as Maryland’s No. 1 or No. 2 finisher in all five meets this year.
Maryland will go up against several of the same regional teams and runners that competed at the Paul Short Invitational back on October 15. The Terps were 18th in a very deep field which included several top teams from across the east coast.
Maryland got off to one of its best starts in years from a team standpoint, winning both of its early season meets against local opponents. The Terps started off the season with a victory at the Mount Saint Mary’s 5K duals, the first win for UMD at the event since its inception in 2004.
The team followed up its season opening performance with a meet victory at the Salty Dog Invitational on September 10. It was Maryland’s first win since 2010 at the annual meet hosted by the Naval Academy, as the Terps edged the Mids by five points with a team score of 43.
Then-sophomore Alexandra Lucki notched the best finish of any Maryland runner in three seasons at the 2015 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals in Princeton, N.J. Lucki clocked in at 22:08 to finish 45th and lead the Terps to a 13th-place team finish.
The Terps have several experienced regional championship runners set to compete again, including seniors Sydney Almeida and Charde’ Barnes. This will be the fourth time for the duo at regionals, while senior Alexa Squirini and sophomore Kiernan Keller will compete in their second regional championship event.
This is the second time in three years the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship race has been held at Penn State. The Terps finished 14th overall back in 2014 the last time the meet was held in State College.
Maryland was ranked 10th in the Mid-Atlantic Region in the latest USTFCCCA Regional cross country rankings released on October 31. The Terps started the year tabbed 12th in the Mid-Atlantic.
Should Maryland have qualifiers, the Terps will head to Terre Haute, Ind. for the 2016 NCAA Championship meet on Saturday, November 19.