New England College Men, Husson Women Win NAC Cross Country Championships

LYNDON CENTER, Vt. — The New England College men's cross country team won its first-ever North Atlantic Conference title in grand fashion Sunday when it edged Lyndon 35-38, ending the Hornets' three-year reign as NAC champions.

Medalist Antoine Gisore topped the field of 81 runners with a time of 28:27.9 to lead the Pilgrims to victory. Teammate Makopa Rugabirwa placed fourth in 30:07.5 and Taylor Annett came in sixth in 30:13.2. New England's Matt Meyers rounded out the team's top-10 finishers in eighth place with a mark of 30:33.9.

Michael Farmer was the top Lyndon finisher in third place with a time of 29:52.5 while fellow Hornet Tyler Scheibenpflug placed fifth in 30:10.6 Josh Grant (30:42.0) and Joe Kill (30:55.6) placed ninth and 10th, respectively for Lyndon.

Colby Sawyer's Hayden Bunnell came in second in 29:49.3 and Green Mountain's Forrest Teutsch placed seventh in 30:25.4 to round out the top-10 finishers in the men's race.

In the women's race, Husson University walked off with the title despite a stern challenge from Colby-Sawyer College. The Eagles collected 48 points in the meet while the Chargers placed a close second with 55.

Medalist Salena Sykes, of the University of Maine at Farmington, ran to a first place finish in 22:21.0 while Colby-Sawyer's Caila Walker came in second in 22:34.5. Husson's Aleicia Palmer placed third in 23:02.2 and Brianne Dunn was the second Charger to cross the finish line in fourth place with a mark of 23:08.7.

The Eagle's Angela Stauble came in fifth in 23:15.1 before Mariah Eilers (23:41.5) and Shannon Park (23:49.8) of Castleton placed sixth and seventh, respectively. Emily Davis of Colby-Sawyer placed eight in 23:59.9, Lyndon's Allynne O'Hearn was ninth in 24:00.5 and Rachel Huber of  the University of Maine at Farmington came in 10th with a time of 24.:01.4.

October 28, 2011

Lyndon Set to Host NAC Cross Country Championships

The Lyndon State College men's cross country team will look to secure its fourth-straight North Atlantic Conference title Sunday as the Hornets play host to the 2011 NAC Cross Country Championships.

The men's race will begin at 11 a.m. and will be followed by the women's race at approximately noon. Both competitions will be run on the Lyndon Cross Country Trails, a venue was featured in the November 1994 issue of Runner's World. It was designed in a true cross country terrain style, featuring surfaces of packed dirt, grass or pine needles.

The course features rugged footing with constantly changing inclines. It has been rated by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics as a 4.5 on a five-point scale where a rating of 5 is considered the most difficult and challenging. The trails are located adjacent to the Skip Pound Baseball/Softball Complex on the Lyndon campus.

"I think the keys to both races will be which team can handle this type of terrain the best," said Chris Ummer, Director of Athletics and Head Men's and Women's Cross Country Coach at Lyndon. "Both courses are unforgiving and they make you battle the entire way. Also, the weather will likely be a factor. The temperatures at race time are likely to be only in the mid 30's, similar to last year's NAC Championships in Castine, Maine. Lastly, which teams are the healthiest is probably is the biggest factor and that in turn comes down team depth."

In the men's competition, the race will likely come down to a battle between three-time defending NAC Champion Lyndon and conference newcomer New England College. These teams have yet to race against each other, but both have performed very well throughout the season.

The Hornets are led by 2009 NAC Runner and Rookie of the Year and Josh Grant, a junior, while the Pilgrims feature sophomore standout and four-time 2011 NAC Runner of the Week Antoine Gisore. Both teams have a very solid front five.

The women's race maybe more a battle for second as Husson University clearly looks to be the favorite. Castleton and Colby-Sawyer will challenge, but are likely to have a hard time keeping up with the depth and talent of Husson's top five runners, led by freshman Alecia Palmer and 2010 Runner of the Year Angela Stauble, a senior. Colby-Sawyer's title hopes will be on the shoulders of freshman standout Brianne Dunn while Castleton is led by sophomore Shannon Park and freshman Mariah Eilers.

While Grant and Gisore may be tabbed as the favorites for the men's individual title other competitors that shouldn't be counted out are Colby-Sawyer freshman Hayden Bunnell, NEC freshman Makopa Rugabirwa, Castleton junior Isaac French and Lyndon sophomore Kenedi Hall, who walked off with NAC Rookie of the Year honors in 2010.

Bunnell and Rugabirwa are likely to vie for this season's NAC Rookie of the Year award.

The women's individual title will be a struggle between Palmer and Stauble, both running for Husson, and Colby-Sawyer's Dunn, who beat both earlier in the year on the same course. Others that are not to be counted out are Caila Walker, a freshman from Colby-Sawyer, University of Maine at Farmington junior Salena Sykes, Castleton sophomore Shannon Park and teammate Mariah Eilers, a freshman.

Walker, Eilers, Dunn and Palmer will all be in the hunt for NAC Rookie of the Year award.