A glance at the college season

Once in a while we here at The Armory like to see how some of the high school athletes that have passed through our doors are doing on the college circuit. Armory College Director Jack Pfeifer takes a brief look at some national cross country powers this year.

NCAA Cross Country Rankings

Iona Men Rated 4th Preseason

Iona, under its new head coach, Ric Santos, is ranked 4th among men’s cross country teams in the NCAA Division I preseason rankings released this week.

The Gaels finished 2nd in the Nationals behind the Oregon Ducks last fall under then-Coach Mick Byrne. Byrne left Iona for the University of Wisconsin over the summer and was replaced by Santos, an Iona alum.

The Ducks are ranked No. 1 in both the men’s and women’s preseason polls, conducted by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. In addition to winning the men’s championship a year ago, their first victory in that race in 30 years, they also finished 2nd, behind Stanford, in the women’s.

Division I

The Oregon men are led by Galen Rupp, who made the U.S. Olympic team at 10,000 meters. Rupp finished 13th in Beijing and ran 27:36.99, the fastest 10k ever run at the Olympic Games by an American. Rupp was 2nd at last year’s NCAA cross country to Josh McDougal of Liberty. Rupp and McDougal staged an epic duel in the 2-mile on the Armory track their senior years in high school, in 2004, with McDougal prevailing and running 8:50.40, a time that remains the Armory record.

The Ducks return most of last year’s squad, including sophomore Matthew Centrowitz. Matthew and his father, Matt, and older sister, Lauren, have all run on the Armory floor over the years. Matthew did so while in high school in Maryland, Lauren for Stanford and their father for his high school team, Power Memorial Academy.

Iona is led by Mohamed Khadraoui, a senior from Paterson, N.J.; Khadraoui ran 28:34.19, a school record, in the 10,000 last spring. Among those joining him this fall are Andrew Ledwith of Ireland, Harbert Okuti of Uganda and a crop of newcomers that includes Daniel Lipus of Germany and Giovanni Signoretti of Smithtown.

The top-ranked Eastern women’s squads are West Virginia, 6th, and Princeton, 7th. Coach Pete Farrell’s Princeton Tigers are ranked #1 among Mid-Atlantic teams, while Providence is #1 for the Northeast and Duke #1 for the Southeast.

Among the men, the #1-ranked Mid-Alantic team is Coach Pat Henner’s Georgetown Hoyas. Georgetown will be back in the Armory in February for next year’s Big East Championships, along with other top-20 cross country teams such as Providence and Notre Dame.

Division II

A number of Pennsylvania squads are ranked in the season’s 2nd poll. The top-ranked teams are the Abilene Christian men and the Adams State women.

Among those in the top 25 are Pa. schools Bloomsburg (W 13th), Shippensburg (W 15th, M 21st), Kutztown (17th W), Slippery Rock (22nd W) and Edinboro (12th M). Others from the East are UMass/Lowell (9th M) and Southern Connecticut (22nd M).

Division III

The SUNY Cortland men are ranked No. 1 in the current poll. First-year Coach Steve Patrick’s squad received all 8 first-place votes.

Cortland was 3rd in last year’s NCAA Championships, losing to the national champions from NYU. Coach Nick McDonough’s Lower Manhattan Violets, a mostly senior squad a year ago, is starting fresh this year and was ranked tied for 27th place in the latest rankings.

Cortland returns its top seven runners from a year ago. They are led by Shamus Nally, a senior from Burnt Hills/Ballston Lake who was 8th in the nationals a year ago.

The top-ranked women’s team is Amherst College of Western Massachusetts. Other top-ranked Eastern teams are Williams College (6th M, 8th W), Haverford (11th M), Colby (11th W), Ithaca (13th W), Trinity (14th M), Geneseo (=17th M, 6th W), Middlebury (14th W), Dickinson (19th M), The College of New Jersey (22nd M, 15th W) and Johns Hopkins (17th W). In addition, the Amherst men are ranked 8th, the Cortland women 24th.

On the track this winter, NYU will be hosting the UAA Conference Championships at the Armory in March, and among those attending will be several high-ranked cross country programs, including Carnegie-Mellon (5th M) and Washington U. (24th M, 5th W).