The East region saw a change in the top ranked team after conference weekend. Southern Connecticut State moves up a spot after taking home the NE-10 title over the likes of Stonehill, American International, and Southern New Hampshire (also the next three ranked teams in the East).
SCSU was able to place four of their top runners all within the top 11 and their fifth was inside the top 20 at 19th. The 16 second spread between runners was the biggest reason they had a 10 point victory over Stonehill. Freshman Christopher Lebeau has been the consistent number one runner on this team throughout the year. He recently finished 3rd at NE-10’s in a strong performance. All five runners Lebaeu, Terell Patterson, Connor Shannahan, Jake Mattei, and Steven Cuigini saw the best performance of their careers come last weekend. That’s a strong sign that things are trending in the right direction for the Owls.
Stonehill earned a 2nd place finish at their conferenc meet, but were only seven points behind SCSU. Lucas Taxter served as team's low-stick this year and has done an exceptional job. A runner-up finish at the Division II/III Challenge, a 3rd place finish at NEICAAA Championships, and most recently a 3rd place finish at the NE-10 Conference meet have validated just how talented Taxter is.
Alex Demeule and Riley Dowd have served as strong 2-3 runners this year. Their most recent 4-5 scorers ran their best race time-wise at NE-10’s and should be considered a strong backend to this group.
American International has the most talented man within the region in Leakey Kipkosgei. He hasn’t lost a race this year and I won’t be picking against him on Saturday. He’s been the front-runner for a team that has had an above-average season thus far. American International had a mixture of runners fill the spots of the 2-5 scorers. Siem Mehretu and Patrick Clark are two seniors who didn’t run at the regional meet last year, but bring a bit of championship experience with them. However, that means their 2-5 scorers will need to step up on Saturday the same way they did at conference.
Southern New Hampshire is an interesting team here in the East. They had a strong start to their season as they took home the team title the UMASS Dartmouth meet in September. They later finished 8th at the NEICAAA Championships and then 2nd at the Burce Kirsh Cup. When they won UMASS, they put three men inside the top 10 and I'm sure they would love to replicate an effort like that this weekend. Cedric Jocelyn was the lead man then, and at his conference meet. Teammate Micah Hewitson has also done a good job as the second man who has shored up the front end of the scoring.
#5 Roberts Wesleyan is coming off of a strong conference championship where they took home the team title with 21 points. They had six inside the top eight of the race and won by 43 points.
Roberts Wesleyan also toed the line at the Louisville Classic where they placed 7th and followed that up with a 10th place finish at Pre-Nationals. Christopher Sims and Josiah Ottolini have done a good job pacing Wesleyan on the season. However, they’ll need to put together an impressive regional race in order to extend their season.
1. Southern Connecticut State
2. American International
4. Southern New Hampshire
1. Leakey Kipkosgei (American International)
2. Lucas Taxter (Stonehill)
3. Christopher Lebeau (So. Conn. State)
4. Christopher Sims (Roberts Wesleyan)
5. Cedric Jocelyn (Southern New Hampshire)
Roberts Wesleyan, Stonehill, and Merrimack all remained as the top three in the rankings this week. Assumption rose six spots up from #4 and Saint Rose jumped to #5 after not being ranked.
Roberts Wesleyan had a perfect score of 15 points at their conference meet by taking the first eight spots. They attended Pre-Nationals and finished 4th behind strong teams from Colorado Mines, Walsh, and Hillsdale. They also placed 5th earlier in the season at the Louisville Classic. In both meets, they were led by Ashley Watson and Brittany Shumway. The two sophomores have served as key scorers throughout the season and are a huge reason why this team is at the top of the East Coast Conference. Strong performances from Bailey and Gostomski have also helped get the Redhawks to the top spot in the region. If everyone clicks, they should have enough to get Wesleyan to December 1st.
Stonehill took home the NE-10 title last weekend with 20 points and a dominant performance over Merrimack. Anna Lastra, Samantha Curtin, and Makenzie Cyr finished 1-2-3 at their conference meet and have played a huge part in Stonehill’s success this season. They won the DII/DIII Challenge and followed that up with a 5th place finish at the NEICAAA Championships three weeks later. Isabel Baker and Alyssa Freeman both saw personal bests at their conference meet and will have a huge impact on how the East region turns out.
Merrimack was the 2nd place team at the NE-10 Championships, almost 70 points back of Stonehill. Katherine Ferrara and Tia Foglietta were inside the top 10 at their conference meet and have been consistent throughout the season (mins Ferrara’s NEICAAA Championships race). They’ll need to ride that consistency into the weekend and most likely get a strong performance from their 3-4-5 runners to ensure that they lock in the third qualifying spot.
1. Roberts Wesleyan
4. Southern New Hampshire
1. Kendall Fitzgerald (Post)
2. Makenzie Cyr (Stonehill)
3. Ashley Watson (Roberts Wesleyan) 4. Brittany Shumway (Roberts Wesleyan)
5. Samantha Curtin (Stonehill)