NCAA Championship Competition Awaits Men's Cross Country
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy men's cross country team will compete in its second straight NCAA Championship meet this Saturday morning in Louisville, Kentucky. Coming off a second-place result at last weekend's NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, the Mids qualified and will run in the prestigious national event for the 12th time in program history. The action for the men at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park begins at 10 a.m.
Saturday's meet will have 31 teams from across the Division I ranks competing in the 10k race. Navy is one of 18 teams, that automatically qualified following their respective regional results last weekend. In Bethlehem, Pa. last Friday, the Mids had all five of its scorers rank in the top-30 for a combined team score of 109 points, six better than third-place Villanova. Individually, Jake Brophy and Cory Donley 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.
All-time, Navy has reached this national pinnacle as a team 11 other times: 2016, 1997, 1992, 1989, 1988, 1985, 1984, 1976, 1975, 1974 and 1972.
Throughout the 2017 season, Navy has received a variety of top results from its core five athletes: seniors Cory Donley, Gabriel Collison and Josh Hanna, and sophomores Jake Brophy and Kevin Murray. Over six varsity races this fall, Murray has been the Mids' top finisher three times (Navy Invite, Paul Short & Army-Navy), while Hanna led the Mids at the Roy Griak invite, Donley at the Patriot League Championship and Brophy at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals. Collison has been a top-four finisher in four of the five meets that he competed in. For their respective results at the Patriot League Championship, Donley and Murray were named to the All-Patriot League First Team, while Brophy and Collison earned nods on the second team. Brophy, Donley and Collison all earned All-Mid Atlantic Regional laurels this past Friday for finishing amongst the top-24 at the meet.
Last year at the 2016 NCAA Championship, Navy finished in 26th position with 622 team points. Then-senior Lucas Stalnaker led the Mids in Terre Haute, Ind. with a 69th-place finish at 30:48.6. Brophy (154th, 31:31.4) and Donley (184th, 31:57.6) are the lone returners from the 2016 competition that are slated to suite up for the Mids on Saturday in Louisville.
Navy is currently receiving votes in the USTFCCCA's top-30.