Nov. 12, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Hoping that familiarity breeds success, the University of Maryland cross country teams are banking that their mid-season trip to the course at Penn State helps them this Saturday at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals.
Berths to the NCAA National Championships are on the line in the races, which feature a 6-kilometer women's race beginning at noon and a 10K event for the men starting at 1:15 p.m.
The top two teams in each race automatically qualify for the nationals. The top four individuals not on advancing teams will also run at the nationals, which will be held Nov. 22 at Terre Haute, Ind. The NCAA will select 13 at-large teams to compete at nationals on Sunday evening.
For Maryland, the focus will be on graduate student Greg Kelsey, who is having a standout season. Kelsey, who earned a fifth year of competition with a medical-redshirt waiver, has been the leading man to the line in each of his last three races.
Kelsey placed fifth individually at the Penn State National on Oct. 16, one of three top-10 finishes he's posted this year. He became the first Maryland male student-athlete since 2003 and the second since 1995 to earn All-Atlantic Coast Conference status two weeks ago at Boston College.
Kelsey will hope to follow the recent plan set by Alex Lundy, who used strong finishes at the regional meet to qualify as an individual for the last two NCAA Nationals. Lundy will not compete Saturday due to an injury that has sidelined him much of the cross-country season.
Fellow grad student Dan McDevitt will lead the remainder of the Maryland pack for the men. McDevitt, who came to the Terrapins from Loyola, Md., in the summer, has been the No.2 runner to the line in each of the last two events.
Freshmen Cory Puffett and Sean O'Leary, and sophomores Brian Faherty and Craig Morgan will also compete for Maryland, which enters the event ranked ninth in the Mid-Atlantic Region by the U.S. Track & Field / Cross Country Coaches Association.
The Maryland women are also ranked ninth in the region coming into Saturday's meet. The Terrapins have been running well as a pack all season, with the five scorers finishing within 90 seconds in all five meets this year.
Junior Ashley Cromartie and senior Ashley Campbell will be leaned on to lead the way for the Lady Terps as they step to the line on Saturday. Both have shared the second and third spots in the lineup this season. They will be joined by seniors Andrea Rothschild and Ashlyn Sinclair, sophomore Anna Roth and freshmen Caitlin Orr and Maryam Fikri.
Defending national champion and top-ranked Villanova is expected to battle No. 5 Georgetown and No. 19 Princeton for the automatic-qualifying spots in the women's team race.
On the men's side, the battle shapes up between 17th-ranked Princeton, 26th-ranked Penn State and No. 29 Villanova.