2017 Season Preview
HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford Men's Cross Country team enters the season with yet another national ranking and high hopes behind an experienced core of runners looking to take the next step on the national stage. The Fords will be looking for a 25th straight trip to the NCAA Championships in 2017 while also looking to defend a Centennial Conference championship. The 2016 crown was the 22nd title in the last 24 years.
The squad was selected as the No. 14 team in the nation according to the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason poll. In addition, the Fords were also ranked as the No. 2 team in the Mideast region preseason rankings. Haverford finished with 181 total votes after an 18th place finish at the NCAA Championships last season.
Haverford was also chosen as the number one team in the Centennial Conference by the conference head coaches in their annual preseason poll. Haverford received seven first-place votes (63 points). The Fords finished six points clear of Johns Hopkins, who was picked second with 57 overall tallies and two first-place votes. Dickinson was selected as the No. 3 team, followed by Swarthmore, Muhlenberg, Gettysburg, Franklin & Marshall, Ursinus and McDaniel.
Centennial Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year James Stadler steps up into the captaincy in the 2017 season. Last season, he finished 37th overall at the NCAA Mideast Regional. The Fords will also return All-American Henry Woods for his senior season ready to step into the national spotlight after a strong 22nd place finish at nationals a season ago. Woods paced Haverford at each race he competed in during the 2016 season. A large returning senior class features Stadler and Woods along with Liam Bassett, Tyler Fong, Marcelo Jauregui-Volpe, Lincoln Satterthwaite and Matt Willig.
Ryan Herlihy, Dylan Gearinger, Graham Peet and Greg Morgan will also return from All-Region and All-Centennial conference seasons to anchor the squad's junior core with eyes towards a top NCAA performance.
The group of juniors also includes Arthur Chang, Josh Frye, Chris Gandolfo-Lucia, Chris Goings, Peter Kurtz and Ian Woodhouse. Haverford loses 2016 co-captains Jimmy Gorman and Charlie Hale from its NCAA contingent, but the future remains bright with a talented class of 2019 ready to step into a leadership role in 2017.
After successful first year campaigns, James Barker, Steve Gan, William Hillegas, Hiro Kawakatsu, Conor Madden, Sam McCalpin and David Watt are back for their sophomore seasons. Newcomers to the squad include first year harriers Nathan Akerhielm, Jack Hunter, Matt Katz, Oscar Melendez and Gene Perry along with sophomore Sam Ditkovsky and senior Chris Bechen.
Liam Lynch also joins the squad as a junior after previously competing as a standout in both the Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field seasons. Lynch, a six-time All- Centennial Conference selection in track events, was part of the 2016 DMR squad that reached the NCAA Championships. He will look to add distance accolades during the cross country season to an already impressive track resume.
Head coach Tom Donnelly begins his 43rd season at the helm of the Fords. The journey towards nationals will start with the Alumni Open (Sept. 9) and Main Line Invitational (Sept. 15) at the Alumni Cross Country Course on the Haverford campus.
The Centennial Conference championships will be hosted by Gettysburg (Oct. 29) before Dickinson hosts the NCAA Mideast Regional (Nov. 11). The NCAA Championships, hosted by Principia College, are slated for November 18 in Elsah, Ill., a suburb of Saint Louis, Mo.