Spartan Cross Country Ready for NCAA Regionals

Spartan Cross Country Ready for NCAA Regionals

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton men's and women's cross country teams are set to compete in the NCAA Division III Regionals on Saturday at the University of Southern Maine's Gorham Country Club. The men's eight-kilometer race begins at 11 a.m. and the women's six-kilometer race is slated for 12:15 p.m.

Last time out, the Spartan men placed second out of 10 squads at the North Atlantic Conference Championships. Grandon Smith claimed the individual title to earn NAC Runner of the Year honors, and he was followed closely by freshman Gannon McKearin in fourth place. Jared Wheeler, Oliver Rodgers, and Carter Kline rounded out the top five for Castleton, respectively.

The 2017 men's regional race features six teams that are ranked among the top 35 in the USTFCCA Division III poll. Amherst College leads the nationally-ranked squads at No. 6, followed by MIT in 10th place. Middlebury (15th), Bates (21st), Williams (29th), and Connecticut College (33rd) are also in the national poll. Additional strong teams in the region include Brandeis, Tufts, Bowdoin, and WPI. The Spartans placed 32nd out of 50 teams at last year's regional competition, led by a 32nd-place finish by Smith.

The Spartan women placed third out of 10 teams at the NAC Championships, led by a fourth-place finish by Kaylyn Crompton. Teammates Miranda Messeck and Lydia Maier were closely behind, while Rachael Emery and Megan Greene rounded out the Castleton top five, respectively.

The 2017 women's regional field includes seven teams that are ranked among the top 35 in the November 1 USTFCCCA national poll. Second-ranked MIT leads the way, while Williams is close behind in fourth and Middlebury is ranked eighth. Tufts (13th), Bates (16th), WPI (31st), and Amherst (35th) are all teams among the top in the most recent national poll. Other regionally-ranked teams include Bowdoin, Brandeis, and Wesleyan. The Spartans placed 30th out of 59 teams in the 2016 regionals, led by Crompton's 67th place finish out of over 400 runners in the competition.

The top two finishing teams from each of the eight regions (16 teams) will earn automatic berths to the National Championship.  Other top finishing teams from each region will vie for at-large bids into the 32-team field that will be announced Sunday afternoon.  The top seven individuals in each region from non-qualifying teams will also make the national championship field.