Hood Men Close Out Cross Season
CENTER VALLEY, Pa.--The Hood College men’s cross country team closed out its ninth season of varsity cross country competition Saturday at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships hosted by DeSales University. The Blazers finished 39th in a field of 53.
"The truth is that I don't worry too much about this meet, participation was voluntary today," said head coach Brent Ayer. "At the beginning of the season we set our goals of finishing in the top four teams in the conference, winning three individual all-conference designations and earning national All-Academic status. We have done the things we set out to do with our legs, the only item that remains is to hit the books and finish the job in the classroom."
Top finisher on the day was junior captain Brett Shelley who finished 155th overall in a massive field of 328 finishers. He recorded a time of 28:44 for the hilly 8,000 meter course. Justin Cifuentes, Theo Jenkins, Dave Gudeman and Matt Dyjack completed the team scoring. Dan Jacobs, Jordan Acton and Chris Catalfamo, who have all run in the top seven this year, rested the meet. All-Capital Athletic Conference runner Stephen McNamara left the course early following a calf cramp.
Gudeman ran his 22nd, and final, race in a Hood College uniform.
"Dave was a total bonus for us," Ayer said. "He arrived without my knowing his background and he has been a consistent 4-5-6 runner for us over the last three seasons.
"It was a beautiful day to run, but this was all a little anti-climactic," observed Ayer. "Stephen is fine and the others will be, also. We launch into our second official season of indoor track beginning Monday and some of our student-athletes just needed some time off."
In the course of Ayer's ninth season at the helm, the Blazer men finished fourth in the CAC and runners Stephen McNamara, Gretchen Whitesell and Alyssa Peterson were named all-conference. McNamara was awarded the Margaret Louise Kleist Prize for an outstanding member of the freshman class at Convocation Honors last spring and becomes the second male all-CAC runner in school history. Whitesell was voted "Rookie of the Year" by the CAC head coaches, only the third Hood athlete in any sport to obtain this distinction.