Mid-Atlantic Regional: Men's and Women's Preview
October 18th, 2018
2016 Regional Champ Suzanne Stein (Penn State) looks to repeat while the Penn State women go for their 6th consecutive title. No clear-cut favorite on the men's side but plenty of depth.
Mid-Atlantic Regional Preview - Men (Bethlehem, PA)
The Mid-Atlantic might be the most intriguing of all the Regionals, particularly on the Men’s side because of several teams that have had some stellar results this year and are already proving they have great competitive depth. This year’s runners are hoping to only run 8k after the lead pack was led by parents with good intentions onto an additional 2k loop before the final stretch in 2017. Because of this honest mistake, there will be no reference made to last year’s race placings.
By no surprise, the same strong top five teams from 2016 Regionals appear ready to duke it out for the place on the team podium and the ultimate prize of first place at the largest NIRCA Regional, where more than 330 athletes will race the 8k. In 2016, Penn State won with 53 points, followed by Princeton (82) and Virginia Tech (83), leaving Maryland (120) and Virginia (124) on the outside looking in. Then, Penn State finished second at the 2017 Nationals in East Lansing, unofficially laying claim as the best team from the Mid-Atlantic, followed by Princeton in 5th and Maryland in 10th.
We’ll start off with the strongest predicted team that’ll be competing at Lehigh this weekend for the Mid-Atlantic Regional, Penn State University. The Nittany Lions run under the strong leadership of three All-Americans, Joseph Clark (7th), Matthew Beyerle (14th), and Daniel Wilcko (23rd). Let’s not overlook Matthew Balogh, since he won the Freshman/Sophomore race at Nationals. The rest of their team is rounded out by our favorite ‘recording artist’ Senior Raymond Friend, as well as Bryan Moon, Nicholas Deamer, and Ross Harps. Penn State’s top five could be any combination of those eight and that’s why they have the greatest chance at the top team place.
Princeton also has a strong group from last year’s team, but will need their leader, Liam Collins, to pace and pull them like he did at the Nittany Lion Invitational, earning him the ‘W’. It could be quite the battle between Liam and Penn State’s Joseph Clark for first place on Saturday, which could set the tone for the rest of the Tigers. Liam will be supported by Zartosht Ahlers, who finished 18th at Nationals last year, Gerry Angelatos, and Ben Giugliano. They are the top returners from the squad that finished fifth in East Lansing but will need some help in their quest to take home the biggest trophy this weekend. That help should come from Rohit Narayanan, Charles Smith, and Zach Teed. If Princeton runs as well as they have so far this season, they will be tough to oust from a podium spot.
Maryland may not have the same speed at the top of their squad, but their returners from last year’s squad finished within 34 seconds of each other at Nationals and they will need that same consistency and some improvement to push Penn State and Princeton out of the running as the winning team. Maryland has not finished higher than third place as a team (back in 2015), and will likely do no worse than finish as the third place team this year. The Terrapins are led by Ryun Anderson, who finished 54th at the 2017 Nationals and third at Princeton this year. The other four members from their Nationals squad who are back include: Andrew Lent, Mitchell Welter, Rylan Flint, and Jacob Grant. Should any of them falter, Colin SyBing and Brian McCullough are primed to fill their spots, having finished fourth and tenth at the Princeton Invitational. This may be Maryland’s best squad yet and it’ll be interesting to see how they do when they come face to face with the major power behind Penn State and Princeton.
Virginia and Virginia Tech don’t quite have the consistency, but with a strong start, these two teams could play spoiler on the day. Virginia’s best returning runner from 2017 Nationals is Trevor Marchhart, who finished 86th, and is backed by three others from that squad, Logan Burns, Evan Fisher, and Jeremy Levine. After a strong performance at the Carolina Classic, Zack Holden, Ian Iverson, and Moe Travis may also play a pivotal role in helping the Cavaliers make a name for themselves. Virginia Tech had a slightly better result at the Carolina Classic under the leadership of Harrison Wood and Connor Lee. Harrison will be setting the pace as the frontrunner of this pack, having placed 50th at 2017 Nationals, and he could join the race for 1st overall if the stars align. The rest of the Hokies’ crew includes Harrison Autry, Spencer Conti, Sam Lebahn, and Jack Bosley. Don’t sleep on this Virginia Tech team - they may surprise us this weekend.
1st – Penn State
2nd – Princeton
3rd – Maryland
Mid-Atlantic Regional Preview - Women (Bethlehem, PA)
Races are not won on paper, but Penn State has had the number of every other team in the Mid-Atlantic and comes in primed to repeat for the 6th consecutive year. Last year Princeton nearly ended the streak, but came up 1 point short, losing out 58 to 59. It appears to be a two horse race again this year, but let’s dive a little deeper.
Princeton may not return the same firepower as Penn State, but their top runners have posted great times this season and appear ready for the challenge. Barrett Gray leads the Tigers, having finished 3rd last year at Regionals and 15th at Nationals, and is running very strong this season, having finished 2nd at the Nittany Lion Invitational and 1st at the Princeton Invitational. Barrett will be flanked by Yuzki Oey, who finished 13th at the 2017 Nationals, and the return of Catherine Song, who finished 11th at the 2016 Nationals in Hershey, PA. The rest of their cast is made up on Alice Wistar, Carlota Corbella, and Clare Cook. The ladies from Princeton will be one of the deepest teams at the Mid-Atlantic Regional and look ready to end Penn State’s reign.
Penn State may be thinking ahead to Nationals where they will attempt to reclaim their crown from the University of Michigan, but don’t expect them to overlook Princeton at the Mid-Atlantic Regional. The Nittany Lions return their top four runners from Regionals and Nationals last year, led by Suzanne Stein who will look to repeat as Regional Champion. Suzanne has finished 1st in every cross country race the past two seasons, except for her 2nd place finish in East Lansing at Nationals. Expect her to push her teammates to repeat as Mid-Atlantic Regional Champions. The other returners are Baylee Robey, 9th at Regionals and 5th at Nationals, Hannah Morris, 14th at Regionals and 9th at Nationals, and Leah Narkevic, 13th at Regionals and 29th at Nationals. These ladies will be looking for support from their other teammates and will need someone to step up and round out their top five if they hope to fend off Princeton. Additionally, beware of the WE ARE chant tunnell that will develop somewhere on the course as the PSU Men and Women look to support each other to victory.
Pittsburgh, Maryland, Virginia, and James Madison will likely be the other teams fighting for the 3rd place spot. Pittsburgh has three top 30 returners from last year’s squad that finished 5th at Regionals. Elizabeth Morris, Karleigh White, and McKenzie Nugent will look to lead the Panthers along with Jessica Uhrin, who did not run at the Regional last year but finished 36th at Nationals. Maryland finished 4th last year and also returns three top 30 runners, Katrina Krabinski, Shannon MacMaster, and Julia Heiges. Shannon MacMaster should lead the Terrapins as she finished 33rd in East Lansing and is coming off a 2nd place finish at the Princeton Invitational. Virginia does not have the same returning depth as the other teams here, but are led by Rachel Tischler, 15th at Regionals last year and 27th at Nationals, and are hoping to play spoiler. The biggest unknown of the weekend will be the Dukes of James Madison University. They have a quartet of talented freshman who may become a force to be reckoned with in the Mid-Atlantic for several years. Audrey Corbet, Hannah Kelly, Anya Hawkins, and Riley Leeds.
While Virginia Tech may not have the depth to compete as a team, Elizabeth Buckley returns to the course after not competing in any NIRCA cross country races during the 2017 season. She finished 1st at the Mid-Atlantic Regional in 2016 and followed that up by becoming an All American finishing 4th at the 2016 Nationals. She will look to reclaim her individual from Suzanne Stein in what could be a neck and neck race.
1st – Penn State
2nd – Princeton
3rd – Maryland
Michael Potter, NIRCA