The NIRCA Fall 2021 National Championship is (tentatively) on!
Based on the current info available, we are thrilled to announce that Fall XC Nationals is planned for November 6th, 2021 in Shelbyville, IN. These plans are subject to change as new information emerges, so keep checking here for immediate updates as they are available.
Northeast Regional: Men's and Women's Preview
October 24th, 2019
23 of the top 30 men return to battle for glory and Northeastern will seek a repeat. Several freshmen will make their appearance on the women's side as the usual suspects seek a team victory.
Northeast Regional Preview – Men (Carlisle, MA)
The Northeast Regional will be hosted in Carlisle, MA at the DCR Great Brook Farm State Park where Northeastern will attempt to repeat as team champions. This year there will be 23 of the top 30 runners from last year’s Regional in Milton, NY, and five schools have at least three top 30 runners. Buckle up because this one is going to be a shootout!
Northeastern won by a comfortable margin of 45 points last year and was led by Luke Janik, who finished first last year and returns for his senior season. Luke has finished first in all three races this year and shows no signs of finishing in any other position than first in Carlisle. The Huskies also feature the sixth, seventh, ninth, and 14th, place finishers from last year making them the deepest squad. Vincent Castonuovo, Brendan Hehir, Jonah Spector, and Thomas Hinds have all run well this year posting faster times than their regional marks last year. Should any of their top five runners falter, David Muir and Cameron Leonard are ready to step in.
Binghamton had a first place team finish in 2016, second in 2017, and third in 2018, but look primed to recapture the crown. They have three top 30 returners from the 2018 Regional, Mike Totaro, second, Matthew Jacob, fifth, and Jack Murphy, tenth, which gives them some of the fastest top end speed of any school. Their top five are rounded out by freshman Michael Dua, who had finishes of second at the Princeton Invitational and first at the BRC Open, and freshman Brian Curtis who finished third at the BRC Open.
Brown finished second as a team last year and also returns three top 30 runners led by Adam Janik, fourth. Their other two top 30 runners are Andrés Beltran, 22nd, and Eliot Laidlaw, 23rd. Laidlaw finished seventh and Trevor Houchens finished fourth at the UConn Invitational giving the Bears a strong four but they will need someone else to step up if they hope to find the team podium.
Cornell is another one of those schools who returns multiple top 30 runners from last year. They had a pair of runners finish inside the top ten, Nico Banks, third, and Miles Rouches, eighth, giving them a strong one-two punch heading into this year's race. Oliver Rapp finished 11th last year and Christopher Watson finished 27th, making Cornell the only school other than Northeastern to have four or more returning top 30 runners. Big Red will need at least one other runner to rise to the occasion for them to have a shot at the podium, which they just missed by placing fourth last year.
Boston College, Buffalo, and Connecticut will look to spoil the party as they all bring back some experienced runners. Boston College is led by three top 30 individuals in Harris Craycraft, 16th, Drew Sandifer, 21st, and Jack Beckham 25th. Thomas Blanchard finished fifth at the UMass Amherst Invitational giving the Eagles a solid four, but they may lack top end speed to crack the podium. Buffalo may have only one top 30 runner in Leonard Pietrafesa, 12th, but a strong performance at the Running of the Bulls by Pietrafesa, first, and Konstantin van Schendel, second, coupled with a ninth place finish by Kevin Hazelwood at the BRC Open will give them hope. Connecticut is led by a pair of upperclassmen, Austin Frank and Timothy Cannata, who finished in the top 30 last year and a freshman, Jeremy Carskof, who has finishes of sixth and seventh at the UConn Invitational and UMass Amherst Invitational. Never sleep on the Huskies as there is plenty of talent on their team.
1st – Northeastern
2nd – Binghamton
3rd – Cornell
Northeast Regional Preview – Women (Carlisle, MA)
The Women’s race features to be wide open for the taking with only 11 top 30 runners returning and only four of those individuals being in the top ten. A few schools may be overmatched to even consider the podium, but have some individuals who may have a chance to claim glory.
Boston College is tough to figure out. They only return one top 30 runner from last year, but Amanda L’Esperance finished third and is running faster this season as she finished fourth at the UMass Amherst Invitational, and fifth at the Harvard Invitational. Despite not having as much top 30 depth as other schools, the Eagles have several individuals that have actually bested teammate L’Esperance at some of their races, which can only bode well for BC. Emma Staart figures to help lead the team as she claimed first at the UConn Invitational and Harvard Invitational while dropping to second at the UMass Amherst Invitational. Their other remaining three spots could be filled by the likes of Taylor Teich, Emilie Dufault, Isabelle Luke, or Erinn McGahan as they look to repeat as champions.
Brown returns three runners from the top 30 and a fourth runner who finished 31st. Maura Driscoll, 17th, Casey Nelson, 26th, and Elizabeth Healy, 30th, will lead the charge for the Bears. Driscoll enters in top form after claiming second at the UConn Invitational and hopes to score a low total for her team. Julia McClellan finished 31st last year and has seen drastic improvement as she finished 15th at the UConn Invitational. Having several returners gives Brown some experience but can they finish faster than last year remains to be seen.
Connecticut may be in the best position in terms of experience as they also return three individuals that placed in the top 30. Bethany Ottowitz, tenth, Rachel Haviland, 15th, and Brittany Anderson, 19th, give the Huskies the lowest returning average score for a school with three or more returners. Ottowitz and Haviland have turned in some strong performances this season finishing seventh and 13th, respectively, at the UConn Invitational, while Ottowitz finished sixth at the UMass Amherst Invitational. Depth may be their biggest issue as there is a large question mark behind their top three.
Northeastern should not be overlooked despite only having Erin Dillmann, 22nd, as their lone returning top 30 runner. Gabby Rao finished 32nd last year and has cut around 5 minutes off her time as she claimed fourth at the UConn Invitational and third at the Harvard Invitational. Those performances were accompanied by strong showings from a pair of seniors in Rebecca Elliott and Caroline Evans who hope to continue their success and give the Huskies a shot at the podium.
While a shot at team glory may be a long shot, individual glory and the chance to proudly represent their school remains a possibility for several individuals. Sarah Vener from Binghamton claimed fifth last year and ran well at the BRC Open finishing second. Catriona Breen came in second in 2018 and then 12th at the competitive Princeton Invitational putting her in a good position to be a favorite for the overall individual title. Freshman Uhuru Hashimoto from Dartmouth ran well at the UMass Amherst Invitational as she finished fifth and could be a contender to get a medal in Carlisle, MA. Another freshman, Lara Shonkwiler from MIT, placed fourth at the Harvard Invitational and will battle for her chance at glory. Lilijana Oliver, also a freshman, from Yale claimed first place at the UMass Amherst Invitational and will challenge the veterans for a top ten spot.
1st – Boston College
2nd – Brown
3rd – Connecticut
Michael Potter, NIRCA