Men's Cross Country Clinches NCAA Championship Bid on Friday
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Navy men's cross country team secured the program's second straight bid to the NCAA Championship with a second-place finish at Friday's NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship meet. One year after finishing second in a field of 22 teams at Penn State, the Mids followed a similar script and finished second of 26 teams at Lehigh University. Racing on the 10k Goodman Campus Cross Country Course, the Mids had all five of its scorers rank in the top-30 for a combined team score of 109, six better than third-place Villanova (115) and 13 better than fourth-place Georgetown (122). Princeton was the Mid-Atlantic Regional winner with 57 team points.
"Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan," remarked head coach Al Cantello after the meet. "To win in poker you've got to be holding five good cards and today we did! The Midshipmen really bought into what we needed to do to win. The look on their faces after the race will stick with me for a lifetime."
Individually, Jake Brophy (So., New Hope, Pa.) and Cory Donley (Sr., Salina, Kan.) led Navy's effort with back-to-back finishes in 14th and 15th place, respectively. Brophy clocked in three-tenths of a second ahead of his teammate at 30:49.9, while Donley posted a time of 30:50.2.
This duo played a key role in the Mids moving up in the standings down the stretch as at the three-quarter mark (7.5k), Navy was tied for third-place with 115 team points and Brophy and Donley were in 23rd and 24th place. With Brophy and Donley advancing nine spots each over the final 2.5k, they helped Navy push ahead of Georgetown and to break the then-tie with Villanova.
Another tight grouping of Navy runners rounded out the team's top-five with Gabriel Collison (Sr., La Crescenta, Calif.), Kevin Murray (So., Wilmington, Del.) and Josh Hanna (Sr., Winfield, Kan.). Separated by just 6.0 seconds, the trio finished in positions, 24, 26 and 30, respectively. Collison led the way with a 30:55.4 result, while Murray was 2.0 seconds back at 30:57.4. Hanna clinched the second-place team result for Navy with a 30th-place individual finish at 31:01.4.
Michael Karls (Jr., Festus, Mo.) and Jake Shewbert (So., Flowery Branch, Ga.) were the Mids' sixth and seventh finishers on Friday with Karls netting a 59th-place result at 31:42.0 and Shewbert an 81st-place finish at 32:02.4.
Brophy, Donley and Collison all earned All-Mid-Atlantic Regional honors in recognition of their top-25 finishes.
Georgetown's Jonathan Green won the individual title with a time of 30:28.3.
In total, 180 runners competed in the men's 10k championship race.
Navy's season will continue next Saturday, Nov. 18 in Louisville, Kentucky for the running of the 2017 NCAA Championship. This will be the 12th appearance in program history for the Mids in the national championship. Last year, they competed in Terre Haute, Indiana and placed 26th as team.
All-Time NCAA Team Appearances by Navy Men's Cross Country
2017 - 2016 - 1997 - 1992 - 1989 - 1988 - 1985 - 1984 - 1976 - 1975 - 1974 - 1972