PROVIDENCE, R.I. -
The Providence College men’s and women’s cross country teams will head to Franklin Park in Boston, Mass. this Friday (Nov. 13) for the NCAA Northeast Regional. The meet determines the NCAA Championship qualifiers with the top-2 teams earning an automatic bid.
Leading the way for the Providence women, who are currently tied for fourth in the national rankings, will be the 2015 BIG EAST Cross Country Individual Champion, senior Sarah Collins (Basel, Switzerland). Collins, after sitting out an entire year of racing last year, came back to win the title on Oct. 31 in Mason, Ohio. Collins placed second at the NCAA Regional meet in 2012 and third in 2013. She will be looking to take the title on Friday.
The duo of senior Lauren Mullins (Binghamton, N.Y.) and sophomore Katie Lembo (Penfield, N.Y.) will return to the lineup for the Friars after their 2-3 punch at the BIG EAST Championships. Last year Mullins and Lembo both earned All-Northeast Regional honors after finishing 24th and 10th, respectively. With the way Mullins has progressed over the last four years (70th at the BIG EAST Championships her freshman year to 2nd this year), she will be a threat at Franklin Park, as will Lembo.
Joining Collins, Mullins, and Lembo will be junior Catarina Rocha (Peabody, Mass.). Rocha finished sixth at the BIG EAST Championships two weeks ago after missing a week of training. This time last year, Rocha placed seventh at the Regional meet and will look to improve on her performance.
The Friars’ No. 5 runner, sophomore Brianna Ilarda (Perth, Australia), also will compete on Friday. In 2014, Ilarda grabbed the 35th spot at the regional meet and has seen great strides in her performance this year. She will look to be within the top-20.
Rounding out the top-7 women for Providence will be senior Molly Keating (Rehoboth, Mass.) and junior Emily Bushey (Vernon, N.J.). Keating and Bushey finished within two seconds of one another at the BIG EAST Championships, with Keating in 19th and Bushey in 20th. These two will work together and battle it out for the No. 6 spot over the 6km course.
The women captured the 2015 BIG EAST Championship title on Oct. 31 for the programs seventh BIG EAST Championships team title and will head into the meet as the favorite. The Friars have held the No. 1 Northeast Regional spot throughout the entire season. The last time the Friars won the meet was in 2013, followed by the NCAA Championship win in Terre Haute, Ind. a week later.
The men, who are currently ranked 29th in the nation, will be fighting for an at-large bid into the NCAA Championship this weekend. Leading the charge for the Friars will be senior Julian Oakley (Tauranga, New Zealand). Oakley is coming off of a ninth place finish at the BIG EAST Championships and will look to improve on last years’ 14th-place Regional performance.
Junior Hugh Armstrong (Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland) will join Oakley on Friday. Armstrong grabbed the 12th place at the BIG EAST Championships, just four seconds behind Oakley. Last year, Armstrong finished 80th at the Regional meet and has seen huge improvements over the last year. He will look to immensely improve on that performance.
Joining Armstrong and Oakley will be sophomores Aaron Hanlon (Drogheda, Ireland) and Thomas O’Neill (Middletown, N.J.). These two men finished within five seconds of one another at the BIG EAST Championships grabbing the 14th and 15th spots, respectively. Oakley, Armstrong, Hanlon, and O’Neill had a 16-second spread at the BIG EAST Championships and will look to work together at Franklin Park to achieve a similar result.
Providence’s No. 5 runner, junior Trevor Crawley (Cumberland, R.I.), will return to the Friar lineup after his 18th-place finish at the BIG EAST Championships.
Rounding out the Friars’ top-7 competitors will be seniors Stephen Robertson (Wakefield, Mass.) and Christian Costello (Ridgewood, Mass.). Robertson just missed out on the All-BIG EAST Second Team after finishing 21st at the BIG EAST Championships, while Costello finished as Providence’s No. 8 runner in 27th.
The men’s team is currently ranked fourth in the Northeast Region and are coming off of a third-place team finish at the BIG EAST Championship. The Friars will be up against Syracuse, Iona and Columbia who sit second, eighth and 16th in the national polls and first, second, and third, respectively, in the Northeast Regional polls.
The women’s 6km race is scheduled to begin at noon, while the men’s 10k race will start at 1:00 p.m.
Follow @FriarsXCTrack on Twitter for live updates.
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