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BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo cross country team will play host to the 2017 NCAA Northeast Regional on Friday, November 10 at the Audobon Golf Course in Amherst, NY. The event begins at 11:00 am with the women's 6K championship race and concludes at 12:00 pm with the men's 10K championship race.
The women's 6K championship race features 39 teams and 358 individual competitors. Providence is the favorite to win the Northeast Regional as they are ranked first in the Coaches' Poll and Tenth in the NCAA Poll. The Friars placed four runners in the top ten of the Big East Championship including Individual Champion, Catarina Rocha as the team placed second to Villanova.
Columbia capped off an amazing turnaround as they jumped from worst to first at this year's Heptagonal Championship. They are currently ranked 2nd in the Northeast and 24th in the NCAA. Based on their strong 12th place finish at the Nuttycombe Invite, they should have the points necessary to qualify for the NCAAS if they should fall out of the top two.
Dartmouth placed second in the Ivy League to earn a third place ranking in the Northeast. They are ranked 30th in the USTFCCCA National Poll. If they place third or fourth, they will be on the bubble to make the NCAAs as an at-large based on points.
Syracuse's women placed fourth in the ACC and are ranked fourth in the Northeast Region. However with their strong performance at the Nuttycombe Invite, they could have the points to qualify for the NCAAs if they place in the top four. Paige Stoner won the Individual Conference Championship and should be viewed as a contender to win the Regional Championship.
The UB women are led by sophomore Stephanie Ward who has been the Bulls top finisher in each race this season including a third place finish at the MAC Championships, earning First Team All-MAC honors. Senior Morgan Mahoney will look for a strong performance on Friday after securing a 16th place finish at the MAC Championships. Also running for the Bulls will be Rachel Barich, Chardae Henry, Meghan LaTuso, Laura Libruk, Charlotte Molloy and Sylvia Russell.
Individually, Elinor Purrier from New Hampshire is the heavy favorite to win the Northeast Regional Championship. Earlier this fall Elinor won the NCAA Pre-Nationals along with the America East title. Catarina Rocha's teammate at Providence, Brianna Ilarda is also one of the top returners in the region (fifth in 2016) who placed 2nd in the Big East Conference.
Also in the Northeast Region rankings released on October 30 are: Yale, Cornell, Connecticut, Iona, Brown, New Hampshire, Buffalo, Army, Boston College, UMass Lowell and Sacred Heart.
The men's 10K championship race features 38 teams and 341 individual competitors. Coming off a dominating performance at the ACC Championship where they placed five runners in the top nine, Syracuse is the heavy favorite to win the Northeast Regional. The 2015 NCAA Champions are currently ranked third in the USTFCCCA Coaches' Poll behind Northern Arizona and BYU. Justin Knight, who placed 9th in the 5000 meters at the IAAF World Track and Field Championship this summer, is also the individual favorite to win.
Iona is ranked 22nd in the NCAA after winning their 27th consecutive MAAC Championship with a perfect 15 point score. Iona placed second in the region (behind Syracuse) in both 2016 and 2015. With their 17th place finish at the Wisconsin Nuttycombe Invite they should have the points necessary to qualify for the NCAA Championships if they fall out of the top two automatic spots.
Following a second place finish at the Heptagonal Championship, Columbia will need to pull an upset to qualify for Nationals as they likely do not have the points needed to qualify as an at-large. They are currently receiving votes in the National Poll and are ranked third in the Regional Poll. Ryan Thomas was able to win the Ivy League Championship and should be competitive in Buffalo.
Army West Point won the Patriot League Championship over rival Navy and is now ranked fourth in the Northeast. Stony Brook won the America East Championship and is ranked fifth in the Northeast Region.
The host Buffalo Bulls will be looking for a strong performance from a couple of underclassmen in William Hilbert and Jack Jibb. Hilbert closed out the MAC Championships with a team-best 18th place finish while Jibb wasn't far behind, taking home 20th place. Dan Muldoon and Christopher Nowak will also look to make some noise for the Bulls on Friday. Also competing for UB will be freshman Thomas Flannery, Peter Kane, John McCarthy, Matthew Mercer and Dylan Servos.
Individually, Justin Knight (Syracuse) is the Northeast Regional Defending Champion and the 2016 NCAA Runner-up. He most recently won the ACC Individual Championship. Teammate, Colin Bennie (Syracuse) was the 2016 Runner-up in the Northeast. He placed third at the ACC Championship. Chartt Miller (Iona) was fourth in last year's regional meet to lead the Gaels. Sean Burke (Boston College), Brian Zabilski (Columbia), and Kenny Vasbinder (Columbia and East Aurora HS) are all retuning NCAA Individual Qualifiers.
Outside of the top-5 in the regional rankings but racing on Friday will be Boston University, UMass Lowell, Cornell, Connecticut, Providence, Dartmouth, Albany, Yale, Brown, and Manhattan.
With record setting rainfalls over the past two weeks in Buffalo, we are expecting sloppy conditions at the Audubon course. For all the information about Friday's event, please click HERE.