The season is far from over for the Quinnipiac Cross Country team. Both the men’s and the women’s teams finished in the top five in the Northeast Conference championship meet a week ago. The men’s team finished in fifth place and the women tied for fourth place. “It was a close match all the way around”, said coach Shawn Green, “there were only 29 points separating 2nd and 7th place.”
There are two meets left for each squad, the Intercollegiate American Association of Amateur Athletics (IC4A) and the more important NCAA regional meet, which is this Saturday. Both which allow Green to see what he can expect for next year.
The IC4A’s are more of a formal run, as they are comprised of teams who did not qualify for the NCAA’s. It is one of the nations’ oldest races and takes place on November 17, in Van Courtland Park, NY. “The NCAA meet is the focus of our season,” said Green. It is a contest that invites all of the schools in New England and New York, to one race to try to get into the NCAA national meet. Last year, 36 teams attended. This years meet will be held in Boston’s Franklin Park, and only the top two finishers receive an automatic bid into the NCAA’s.
While Green does not expect to finish in the top two, he does expect them to perform strongly. “I expect the men’s team to finish in the top 15. We are in a strong region, with Yale, BU, and Cornell, all top national teams. Our goal is to win the conference (NEC) within the next few years and get into the (NCAA meets) top ten.” Green will rely heavily on Tom Martin, who finished 7th overall in the conference. On the women’s side, he expectations are high as well. “We have a good chance of winning the NEC next year, with good recruiting. I expect a top 20 finish in the NCAA regionals.” The team finished 28th last year.
The NCAA tournament meets are longer in distance than NEC meets. Instead of the usual 8 kilometers for men it’s 10, and for women it is 6 kilometers instead of 5. Green is not worried about the distance change though. “The top five are all long distance guys, so there’s not a heck of a lot of difference. With Carolyn Robin, the longer the better. They ran out of their minds, really stepped up. They need to rise to the occasion and set the tone for how Quinnipiac will run in the future.”