TOWSON, Md. -
The 2013 Landmark Cross Country Championships are set for Saturday,
Nov. 2 at the United States Soldiers and Airmen's Home in
Washington, D.C. Catholic University will serve as host for the
eight-team event. The women's 6-kilometer race begins at 11:00 a.m.
followed by the men's 8-kilometer race at 12:00 p.m.
Women's cross country is one of two Landmark sports with five different champions in six years of competition. Catholic will have a chance to defend its 2012 title on its home course this weekend. While Juniata College, Moravian College, University of Scranton and Susquehanna University have all claimed top honors, only Susquehanna has won the title twice.
Catholic lost two of its top three runners from 2012, but returns a wealth of talent including senior Rebecca Radcliffe. Radcliffe led the Cardinals in last year's championship with a fifth place finish, a 34-spot jump from 2011. Freshman Catherine Kitz has posted the fastest 6K time for Catholic this season as the Cardinals will look to win back-to-back titles.
The conference coaches picked Moravian to win the 2013 championship after finishing as runner-up a year ago. The Greyhounds return seven of their nine runners from 2012 including All-Landmark performers Claire Del Casale and Jessie Goldberg. Del Casale has one of the fastest 6K times in the conference this fall after running the Princeton Invitational in 23:02. The junior is a two-time All-Landmark honoree and will look to lead the Greyhounds this year.
The top female runner this season has been Juniata's Katrina Woods. Last year's runner-up, and a three-time All-Landmark performer, Woods recently broke the Landmark 6K record after finishing the Lock Haven River Run in 21:44.20. The senior will look to give the Eagles their second Landmark Championship with a solid race on Saturday.
Scranton finished in fourth place at last year's championship race. Senior Cara Notarianni boasts the fastest 4K time this season, the second fastest 5K and fifth fastest 6K. Injuries plagued the first three years of her career, but now she has an opportunity to improve on her 20th place finish from 2012 and break onto the All-Landmark teams. One of just two seniors, a number of young teammates will join Notarianni in her quest for a Scranton title.
Susquehanna did not compete at the Landmark Preview and has rarely competed head-to-head with Landmark teams this season, but has been building to reclaim the championship. The Crusaders start with 2012 Landmark Rookie of the Year Ashley West. West picked up where she left off and turned in the second fastest Landmark 6K time this season (22:18.30) at the Lock Haven River Run. Susquehanna is also bolstered by quite a few young, talented runners.
Goucher has been making a strong push back up the standings after a second-place finish (out of four Landmark teams) at the Landmark Preview race earlier this season. The Gophers are led by two-time First Team All-Landmark performer Katherine Currier. Currier finished fourth and fifth the past two years and traditionally posts some of the top times in the Landmark.
Unfortunately, the USMMA season has been limited due to the government shutdown. The women have only been able to compete in two 5K races thus far, but that could prove to be extra motivation on Saturday.
Drew has added a number of runners to its roster this season, but has faced the difficult task of replacing 2012 Landmark Champion Jennifer Van Wingerden. All five runners on the roster are new to the team this season, but have an opportunity to prove themselves this weekend.
The men's championship has been dominated by Moravian and Susquehanna. The Crusaders won the first four titles, before Moravian took home the last two. Three-time runner-up, Juniata, is consistently nipping at their heels while USMMA made a strong push last year to finish third.
The individual race looks to come down to last year's top two with Moravian's Dillon Farrell and Juniata's Nate Alter. Farrell broke his own Landmark 8K record with a time of 24:35 at the Princeton Invitational. Teammate Alec Duncan is a two-time First Team All-Landmark performer and is expected to be part of the Greyhound charge for a three-peat.
Susquehanna finished second a year ago, but returns nine of its top 10 runners who all finished in the top 26 at the 2012 Landmark Championships and was picked to win the 2013 Championship. In addition, all four of the team's All-Landmark runners return this season including Colin Eberhardt, Paul Crowe, Brandon Mash, and Alex Price. Senior Sal D'Angelo has posted the top 8K time for the Crusaders this season.
The USMMA men are obviously at a disadvantage having only competed in two meets. The team went more than two weeks without official practice and only recently returned to campus, but the Mariners do have two top-three team finishes this season. Freshman Cameron Green earned Landmark Runner of the Week honors after finishing 12th at the LIU Post Invitational. David McGowan is a returning All-Landmark runner while Nicholas Walsh and Andrew Walsh finished in the top-20 a year ago.
Alter has had another strong season leading Juniata. He ran the third fastest time in the 8K at the Lock Haven River Run and returns as the 2012 Landmark runner-up. Returners Trevor Stephens and Nick Trapane finished in the top-25 last year and a host of other student-athletes make up the competitive Eagle squad. In head-to-head team-scoring events this fall, Juniata finished ahead of Moravian, Catholic and Goucher (in a 6K race) while coming up short to Susquehanna.
Catholic returns its top runner from last year in Landmark Rookie of the Year, Matthias Arauco-Shapiro. The sophomore has competed in just three races this season, but it would appear the Cardinals could capitalize on their home course.
Senior Matt DeMaio has posted some of the fastest times for Scranton this season. DeMaio and classmate Stefan Bossbaly were the top finishers for the Royals during the 2012 Championship. Niklas Andersen is Drew's lone returner. Freshman Jordan Cheeseman joins Andersen this season. Goucher has used young talent to fill out the roster. Freshman Anthony Lee and sophomore Isaac Jennings have the fastest 8K times on the team.
The last time Catholic hosted the Cross Country Championships, the Scranton women and Susquehanna men were victorious. Having been four years ago, most if not all of the competitors will not have competed in that event, marking new territory this year.
Results from the 2013 Championships will be posted online as soon as they are made available. Admission is free for all spectators. Additional championship information is available at landmarkconference.org.