Cross Country Programs Open up 2012 Season at Colgate University’s “Harry Lang” Invitational
Friday, August 31, 2012
HOBOKEN, N.J. (August 30, 2012) – On the wake of the first meet of the 2012 season, the Stevens Institute of Technology cross country programs have spent the past two weeks preparing for the opening race of the year under the guidance of brand new head coach Justin Wood. Both Ducks teams will compete at the Harry Lang Invitational hosted by Colgate University on September 1 to kick off their 12-week schedule.
Wood, formerly the head coach at SUNY Delhi, is a National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Famer after competing for the Broncos for two seniors as an undergraduate. He then obtained his bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University and his master’s from Southern Connecticut State University before returning to Delhi as a head coach. Wood led Delhi to back-to-back National Championships in 2009 and 2010.
Wood brings a coaching philosophy that focuses on long term development through a strength based program in order to help the student-athletes peak their performance by the time NCAA Regionals gets underway on November 10. He feels that “a conservative approach to training with a main focus always on development from week to week will prepare each athlete for their main goal at the end of the season.”
Wood continued with his philosophy with his teaching aspects “once our student-athletes learn how we train and why we do certain things at different times of the year, it will help them develop throughout their careers.”
Both programs enter 2012 with a core of strong, but young, runners on each side that put together productive seasons in 2011. The men’s team will be made up of 13 runners, including six freshmen, while the women’s squad boasts 15 competitors with eight freshmen.
The men’s team will be led by All-Empire 8 Conference selections junior Michael Cahill (Clark, N.J.) and sophomore Thomas Cunningham (Colonia, N.J.). In last year’s Empire 8 Championship, Cunningham placed fifth, while Cahill picked up a sixth-place finish to lead the Ducks to a runner-up outcome, the best placement ever since joining the Empire 8.
Joining Cahill and Cunningham as experienced runners in 2012 will be sophomore Brian Lawrey Jr. (Andover, N.J.) who put together a solid first year for Stevens. These three helped the Ducks finished 19th overall at the NCAA Atlantic Region Championship last year and look to better the team’s performance come November.
The women’s team enters this year will a more experienced core of returning returners, despite the eight freshmen. The upperclass experience of four juniors and one senior will push the newcomers to develop quicker and understand what it takes to be successful at the next level.
Senior Ashley Princiotta (Manalapan, N.J.) and juniors Laura Lemke (Merrick, N.Y.) and Kelly Freed (Rutherford, N.J.) will be key components for the team to make a run at the Empire 8 title after finishing fourth last season. The fourth place finish is the second-best mark as a team since 2008 on the women’s side.
Both teams compete each of the next four weekends in September before taking a break to gear up for the RPI Invitational on October 6. The lone home meet for the Ducks this season takes place on September 21 at Liberty State Park with a start time of 2 p.m. Last year’s Stevens Invitational was cancelled due to a torrential downpour throughout the entire afternoon.
At the end of October into the first weekend of November, the teams will compete at the CTC Championships (Oct. 20), Empire 8 Championship (Oct. 27) and ECAC Championships (Nov. 3) in successive Saturdays.
The NCAA Atlantic Regionals are contested on November 10th and serve as the qualifier for NCAA Division III Cross Country Nationals.