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Hofstra University senior runner Daniel Rono.

2013 CAA Cross Country Championship Preview

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 10/31/2013
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­RICHMOND, Va. (October 31, 2013) – The 2013 CAA Cross Country Championships, hosted by Towson University, will be held Saturday, Nov. 2 at Oregon Ridge Park in nearby Cockeysville, Md. The men’s eight-kilometer race is set for 10:00 a.m., while the women’s six-kilometer race follows shortly after at 11:00 a.m. An awards ceremony will immediately follow after both races are completed at 12:00 p.m. Admission to the event is free and directions to the course are listed below.

CAA Men’s Championship

Five teams look to take home the crown on Saturday including league favorite, William & Mary, which is searching for its 14th straight CAA title. Conference newcomer College of Charleston will compete in its first ever league championship event, while Hofstra, Northeastern and UNCW also try to make a bid for the championship trophy.

The Tribe, currently ranked No. 9 in the Southeast Region of the USTFCCCA Coaches’ Poll, has fared well versus solid competition this fall. William & Mary finished 31st at the prestigious Pre-National Invitational out of 52 teams, while upsetting nine ranked squads along the way. The team also earned first-place finishes at its own cross country invitational and at the CNU Invitational. Junior Rad Gunzenhauser, who placed third in last year’s championship, has led the Tribe over all three races thus far this season and has earned CAA Runner of the Week honors each time as well.

Also in the hunt is CofC, which has been guided this season by juniors Adam Seften and Mackenzie Johnston. Seften helped the Cougars open the year with a second-place finish at the Carolina Classic -- leading the event individually -- while Johnston earned two weekly CAA honors this fall.

Hofstra senior runner Daniel Rono put some up some strong times this fall, most notably, finishing first at the 8K Towson Invitational and 11th at the Penn State National. Also expected to lead his team is Northeastern sophomore Wesley Gallagher, who placed 20th in the 2012 CAA Championship with a time of 25:52. Gallagher led the Huskies in every race this year, including a third-place finish at the New England Championships. Gallagher and Rono were each honored once this season as Runners of the Week.

UNCW is expected to be led by senior John Riemer, who broke the 26-minute mark for the first time at the Blue Ridge Open on Oct. 18.

CAA Women’s Championship

Eight teams will battle for the 2013 CAA Women’s Championship, also at Oregon Ridge Park, in the 6-kilometer race. William & Mary, currently ranked 18th nationally in the USTFCCCA Coaches’ Poll, captured last year’s title, ending a two-year championship streak by James Madison.

The Tribe is led by senior Elaina Balouris, last year’s championship individual winner, and sophomore Emily Stites, who placed two spots behind Balouris in the race last fall. Balouris won two weekly honors this season, while Stites earned one weekly nod after an impressive showing at the Pre-National Invitational on Oct. 19, finishing eighth out of 300-plus runners. Balouris and Stites both earned All-America accolades a year ago.

As a team, William & Mary has posted two first place finishes – Spider Alumni Open (Sept. 6) and CNU Invitational (Oct. 19) – and two second-place finishes this season. The Tribe have won the CAA title 18 times overall.

Also in the mix are Delaware and Towson, who are both led by a pair of upperclassmen in the Blue Hens’ Lindsay Prettyman and the Tigers’ Elizabeth Tauber.

Ironically, at the Delaware Invitational on Sept. 14, the Blue Hens earned a second-place finish, with the Tigers coming in one spot behind at No. 3. Tauber, who led the CAA this fall with three weekly honors, finished second overall in that 6K with a time of 22:08.44, while Prettyman, who took home two awards this fall, followed in the fifth-place spot with a time of 22:19.99.

James Madison only raced in three events this fall, but in the team’s final tune up before the CAA Championships, the Dukes finished third at the Penn State Nationals out of 10 teams. Sophomore Jenna Flickinger placed seventh in the event with a time of 21:51 in the 6K. JMU has finished either first or second in 16 of the past 17 CAA championships.

Northeastern, meanwhile, also competed well this fall. The Huskies placed first at the season-opening Nassaney Invitational, while Jordan O’Dea finished sixth to lead the team. In NU’s most-recent race, the New England Championships, freshman Lucy Young impressed with a 16th-place finish.

UNCW senior Ashley Wybersky is coming off a 30th-place effort out of 216 runners at the Blue Ridge Open, while College of Charleston’s Trish Rein placed eighth overall at the Black and Gold Invitational on Oct. 19. Hofstra sophomore Becky Celorio ran a personal 6K record of 22:29 in her most recent outing at the Penn State Nationals.

For more information regarding the 2013 CAA Cross Country Championships, visit our official championships page.

Also, be sure to follow @CAASports for updates over the course of the weekend and feel free to join the conversation with the official CAA Championships hashtag, #CAAChamps.

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