Men's Cross Country Finishes Runner-Up at Patriot League Championship
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - In Saturday's 2017 Patriot League Championship, the Navy men's cross country teams quest for a fifth consecutive league was nearly attained as the team went down to the line tied with Army through four runners, but a better finish by the Black Knights' fifth and final runner gave Army the slim 43-47 victory and the league crown. Navy was led by top-five results by team captain Cory Donley (Sr., Salina, Kan.) and Kevin Murray (So., Wilmington, Del.).
Racing on the 8k Goodman Campus Cross Country Course at Lehigh University, the Mids received a career-best performance by Donley. Always one to put down fast times at Lehigh's home course, including sub-24:20 marks at his previous two Paul Short Run meets, Donley clocked in at 24:16 and second place on Saturday for his highest individual placement in his four-year career.
After a 5.69-second gap back to third place, the championship's fourth through seventh-place finishes were tightly grouped between 24:24.24 and 24:26.10. Navy's Murray was right in middle of that pack with a fifth-place effort at 24:25.25. The sophomore was edged out of fourth place by 1.01 seconds by Army's John Valeri.
Jake Brophy (So., New Hope, Pa.) was the Mids' third finisher with a time of 24:31.33 that ranked eighth overall. He led a four-runner pack to the line for spots eighth through 11th. Brophy was one place ahead of Army's Roman Ollar.
Another Army-Navy race to the line occur in positions 12 and 13 as the Black Knight's Ben Petrella finished 0.43 of a second ahead of the Mids' Gabriel Collison (Sr., La Crescenta, Calif.). Collison clocked in at 24:42.83.
The cumulative results of each team's top-four runners saw the Mids and Black Knights knotted at 28-28. The race for the fifth finisher went the way of Army as the Black Knights' Dan Mazzei finished 15th ahead of the Mids' Josh Hanna (Sr., Winfield, Kan.), who finished 19th with a time of 25:04.30.
Four Mids left Bethlehem with All-Patriot League accolades. For finishing in the top-seven, Donley and Murray were named First-Team All-Patriot League, while Brophy and Collison collected second-team nods for finishing amongst the top-14.
In the team standings, the service academies were the class of the field as Boston U. (79 pts), American (88) and Bucknell (94) were well off the pace in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively. Lehigh (126), Holy Cross (230), Lafayette (248), Colgate (257) and Loyola (305) rounded out the rest of the 10 teams that ran on Saturday.
Boston University's Paul Luevano was the individual champion with a time of 24:01.23.
Navy will be back in Bethlehem and the Goodman Campus Cross Country Course in two weeks for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional on Friday, Nov. 10. The top-two finishing programs at that meet will qualify for the NCAA Championships (Nov. 18) in Louisville, Ky.