Men's Cross Country Wins Fourth Consecutive Patriot League Title
Ken Bunnell finished in fifth place on Saturday.
Oct. 29, 2011
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Competing in horrendous conditions, the Navy men's cross country team won its fourth consecutive Patriot League championship on Saturday in Bethlehem, Pa. The Midshipmen totaled 38 points, which was 11 fewer than second-place American.
With the Navy women also winning on Saturday, it marks the second time since 2008 that both the Mids' men's and women's teams won their respective conference titles in the same year.
Navy is now the third team in conference history to win at least four consecutive league championships, joining American (2002-07) and Army (1993-96).
"We ran as a team today," said 44th-year Navy head coach Al Cantello. "We were just trying to pack it in, win and get out of the snow.
"In all my years of coaching, I can think of just one race with weather as bad as this was today."
Despite the slick course and falling snow, the Mids were able to avoid any costly falls and stay close to one another throughout the race.
James Pearson was the first Midshipman to cross the finish line as the senior captain took third in the field of 81 with a time of 25:14.20 - just over 20 seconds behind the individual champion, Chris Johnson, of Colgate.
Following closely behind Pearson were fellow seniors Ken Bunnell (25:18.1) and Cody Rome (25:26), who placed fifth and eighth, respectively. Despite both runners being less than 100% healthy, they both remained in the top group for the entire race.
"Cody has been sick all week but he took one for the cause today," said Navy head coach Al Cantello. "Ken didn't run against Army and he took one for the team today, too. It was a race of attrition."
After American's John Pope took ninth to give the Eagles four runners across the finish line, the Mids' Kyle Satterwhite followed in 10th with a time of 25:34.8.
With Navy and American both having had four runners finish the race, the Mids' Robert Patterson scored the critical, championship-clinching points for Navy as he placed 12th with a time of 25:35.9.
Chris Galvin crossed the finish line in 19th place, with a time of 25:42.3, and Dean Black came in 22nd, with a time of 25:47.6 to cap Navy's top-seven runners.
In claiming his fourth consecutive title, Cantello also picked up his fourth Patriot League Coach of the Year Honor.
By placing in the top seven, both Pearson and Bunnell earned their first-career All-Patriot League First Team honors.
Rome, Satterwhite and Patterson all garnered Second-Team All-Patriot League honors by placing in the top 14.
The Midshipmen will have next weekend off to prepare for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, which takes place Nov. 12 in Princess Anne, Md. The top-two teams at the regional championship will advance to the NCAA Championship.