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E-town College men’s, women’s XC qualify for nationals

Photo courtesy of Elizabethtown College

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams at Elizabethtown College are headed to the national NCAA DIII championships this weekend after successful regional performances on Saturday.

The men’s team placed second behind Haverford at the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional, held at Big Spring High School in Newville, Pa. Two Blue Jays finished in the top 10, and four runners earned all-region honors. Their second place finish automatically qualified the team for the national championship meet in Winneconne, Wis. It is the first time since 2011 that E-town advanced to the championship meet at as a team.

According to Elizabethtown College’s athletic website, “Zach Trama powered through the 8,000-meter course in 25:30.8 to place fourth, his best regional finish and second all-region performance of his career. Matt Shenk was not far behind his senior teammate, taking seventh in 25:38.6. Shenk got his All-Mideast Region honor.”Others earning all-region honors were Sam Cooper (21st in 26:03) and Ryan Conway  (22nd in 26:04). Adam Harriger was the fifth Blue Jay runner to finish (39th in 26:26.3).

The E-town women had a less direct path to nationals, earning an at-large berth on the strength of three all-region performances and a fourth-place finish at at the division meet. The Blue Jays were ranked fourth in the Mideast going into Saturday’s race. The college athletics website reports that Casey Quinto (10th), Lydia Dearie (25th), and Brenna McNamee (29th) ran to all-region honors and helped E-town take fourth with 152 points. It is the seventh time the Blue Jays have qualified for the NCAA Championships when finishing fourth or better at the regional meet.

The top two teams in each of the eight regions automatically qualify for the meet, while the other 16 teams await word for at-large berths. Johns Hopkins has won three consecutive national championships.