Men's XC runs away with Regional crown and into NCAA championship

NEWVILLE, Pa. – The NCAA Mideast Regional title still belongs to Haverford College's men's cross country team as the Fords captured their third consecutive regional crown, and 21st overall, Saturday morning at New Hope High School and earned a spot in the 2012 NCAA Division III national championship race next Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind.

Haverford -- the Centennial Conference champions and ranked No. 1 in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association D-III rankings -- finished with 63 points to bring home the region crown, out distancing the runner-ups from Carnegie Mellon University (92 points) and a pair of Centennial teams in Johns Hopkins University (third, 110 points) and Dickinson College (fourth, 129).

The spread between Haverford's five scoring runners, just 42 seconds, on the eight-kilometer course was a strong showing against the rest of the field, but the 49-second gap between all seven Haverford runners competing put an exclamation point on the Fords' dominance. Even if the leading pair of runners for the Fords -- Centennial individual champion Christopher Stadler in second and Peter Kissin in ninth -- were removed from the scoring, Haverford would still have come in ahead of CMU.

Stadler's time of 25 minutes, 22. 6 seconds trailed only individual winner Bobby Over of Allegheny College who was 13 seconds ahead of the Haverford junior. Kissin, a senior, and sophomore teammate Joel Christian cracked the top-10 with Kissin finishing with a time of 25:35.9 and Christian (25:38.0) right behind in 10th.

Junior Brian Sokas (20th) and sophomore David Roza (22nd) rounded out the scoring positions for the Fords.

Along with the first five from Haverford to cross the finish, junior Avi Bregman (23rd) and freshman Charlie Marquardt (26th) made it a clean sweep for the Fords in earning All-Mideast Region honors by finishing within the top-35.

Marquardt was also named to the region's All-Freshmen squad by finishing as one of the top seven first-timers in the race.

Haverford hopes to use its results from the past two events, the conference and regional meets, to spring board onto the podium at the national meet held on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 11 a.m.

Each of the past two seasons the Fords swept the league and region meets and followed with stellar performances at the NCAA championship, winning the title in 2010 and finishing as national runner-up in 2011.

All three of the nation's top three teams, No. 2 Calvin (Mich.) College at the Great Lakes Regional and No. 3 North Central (Ill.) College at the Midwest Regional, captured region titles Saturday setting the stage for a battle in Terre Haute.

Mideast Regional results (PDF): Team | Individual

Full D-III regional results across the country (courtesy of USTFCCCA)