McNamara Earns All-CAC, Hood Men Finish Fourth
YORK, Pa.--Sophomore Stephen McNamara of the Hood College men's cross country team drove 8,000 meters through six inches of swirling snow to finish in 11th at the Capital Athletic Conference Championships contested in York, Pa.
Held in conditions that caused CAC play-off contests in all other sports to be postponed, McNamara helped the Blazers to a fourth-place team finish. Following close behind McNamara were Dan Jacobs (16th) and Brett Shelley (22nd). Completing the team scoring were Matt Dyjack and Dave Gudeman, 49th and 50th respectively, in the 94-runner field.
The performance of McNamara (29:58) earned him designation as an all-CAC runner. He is the second runner in program history to gain the honor. Teammate Dan Jacobs was the first last year.
"This was a totally surprising, gutsy performance," head coach Brent Ayer said of McNamara. "He got in way over his head and just kept fighting.
"It is hard for me to say enough about the heart and positive attitude displayed by these young men today," Ayer continued. "We had some runners who had rough days, but across the board, I was very impressed with the effort and for lack of a better word, ‘guts,’ displayed by our athletes. You could sense on the bus ride over that we might do well. All the conversations were positive."
Emblematic of the effort were Jacobs who, while fighting off illness, narrowly missed a second all conference designation by a second and a half, and Shelley, who dove into the finish chute head-first to hold off four other competitors."
Jordan Acton and Justin Cifuentes completed the Blazers' top seven. Also competing for Hood were Chris Catalfamo, Demetrius Young, Will Beighley and Nathan Dubell.
"They were so solid today and so tough and so positive and the conditions were so bad." Ayer concluded. "Today, we met our season goals of finishing in the top four in the conference and earning at least three all-CAC designations (Gretchen Whitesell and Alyssa Peterson added the first and second in the women's race), despite some really rough circumstances."
Host York College (Pa.) claimed the team title by 22 points over runner-up University of Mary Washington. A trio of Spartans finished 1-2-3 overall, led by Tim Hartung and Steven Childress who crossed the tape simultaneously in 28:29.