Men win 18th Centennial cross country title
HAVERFORD, Pa. – Christopher Stadler led a parade of Fords across the finish Saturday at the Centennial Conference's 2012 men's cross country five-mile championship, capturing the individual crown for team-champion Haverford College which won its third straight conference title and 18th of 20 since the initial year of the Centennial in 1993.
The Fords -- ranked No. 1 in the latest national ranking put out by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association -- placed all five of their scoring runners within the first eight places Saturday on the team's Alumni Course on the Haverford campus. Stadler posted a winning time of 24 minutes, 47.1 seconds with the fifth Ford to finish, Brian Sokas, just 34 seconds behind.
In between the pair were teammates Joel Christian (fourth place, 25:08.4), Avi Bregman (fifth, 25:18.8) and Peter Kissin (sixth, 25:19.2). The 34-second span between their scoring runners allowed the Fords to run away with the team title scoring 24 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Dickinson College's 52 points.
The second-place Red Devils edged out third-place Johns Hopkins University by one point. Swarthmore College, fourth with 104 points, and Muhlenberg College with 167 points rounded out the top five teams.
Stadler, Christian, Bregman and Kissin earned first-team all-Centennial honors along with individual runner-up Andrew Fine of Dickinson, Hopkins's third-place finisher, Max Robinson, and Jacob Phillips (seventh) of Swarthmore College.
Haverford's Sokas earned a spot on the second-team all-conference list with Dickinson's Henry Mynatt, Ryan Steinbock and Hunter Smith, and Hopkins' Andrew Carey, Julian Saliani and Josh Budman.
Satuday's Alumni Course was a four-and-a-half-loop trek giving the stationary fan several looks at the runners leading up to the finish. Each time around the course the white Haverford singlet was a wave at the front of the pack with the red of Dickinson's Fine and blue jay blue of Hopkins' Robinson mixed within the pack, but behind Stadler, Christian and Kissin who led the lead group nearly from the start.
Stadler opened up his lead on the final loop with Fine and Robinson trying to hang on to the leader. Christian maintained his spot in fourth over the final loop with Bregman and Kissin falling in not quite 10 seconds behind.
The individual title by Stadler gives Haverford its third consecutive Centennial runner of the year following up on Jordan Schilit's win in 2011 and Anders Hulleberg's title in 2010.
The JV race on Saturday, which followed the men's and women's varsity races, brought another team crown for the Fords as they finished first with 25 points, ahead of a Hopkins squad that nabbed second with 30 points.
Nicholas Gandolfo-Lucia led Haverford with a second-place finish in the JV race which was won by Steve Hyland of Johns Hopkins in a time of 26:34.7. Gandolfo-Lucia was seven seconds behind in the runner-up spot while teammates John Curry and Dylan Verner-Crist were third and fourth, respectively.
With Haverford finishing ahead of Swarthmore in the team race, the Fords were able to score the first point toward the Hood Trophy, a competition between the Fords and Garnet that matches the two institutions in a friendly rivalry for the trophy last won by Swarthmore in 1991.
Next up for Haverford's men will be the NCAA Regional meet on Nov. 10, hosted by Dickinson at Big Springs High School in Newville, Pa.