Crusaders Set to Run at NCAA Mideast Regionals

SELINSGROVE, PA – The Susquehanna University men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete in Saturday’s NCAA Division III Mideast Regional championships at Carlisle High School. The women’s 6,000-meter race begins at 11 a.m. while the men’s 8,000-meter competition begins at noon.

The top two men’s teams and top three women’s teams will advance to the NCAA championships on November 22 at Hanover College in Indiana. Individually, the top six men and top five women who are not members of a qualifying team will also earn an NCAA bid.

The Crusader men are expected to turn in a strong showing at the championships after finishing third in the Middle Atlantic Conference meet at DeSales on November 1. Last season, Susquehanna placed ninth out of 34 teams at the regional meet but return just three runners who competed at the 2002 championships. The team’s best-ever finish at regionals is third place in 1984 when the Crusaders earned a team berth in the NCAA Division III championship field.

Senior Ryan Gleason (Johnstown, PA/Westmont Hilltop H.S.) is one of the contenders for the individual championship after finishing third at the MAC championship meet. Gleason has qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships in each of the last two years and finished eighth at last year’s Mideast Regional meet after taking 12th place in 2001 and 23rd in 2000.

Sophomore Jadrien Deibler (Snydertown, PA/Shikellamy H.S.) finished 10th at the MAC championships and should improve substantially from last year’s 102nd place finish at the Mideast Regional. Senior Ryan McGuire (West Babylon, NY/West Babylon H.S.) will be competing at the regional meet for the fourth straight year and is expected to better his previous best finish of 70th set at Dickinson in 2000.

Also in action for the Crusaders will be freshmen Kyle Snyder (Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin East H.S.), who finished 31st in the MAC this season, and Doug Haines (Flourtown, PA/Springfield H.S.), a 53rd place finisher in the conference.

Rounding out the field for the Susquehanna men will be sophomore Chris Wiegand (Coatesville, PA/Downingtown H.S.) and junior Jeremy Apgar (Wantage, NJ/High Point Regional H.S.). Wiegand finished 34th in the MAC with a time of 29:04.33 while Apgar captured 56th place in 30:23.64.

Susquehanna’s women expect a dramatic improvement from 2002 when the team entered just five runners and came home 24th in a field of 34 schools. The Crusaders finished 7th in the MAC championship meet out of 13 schools.

The Crusaders will field a young team at the regional meet as three of the seven members of the squad are freshmen and just two have previously competed in the event.

Sophomore Meghan Johnson (Hollidaysburg, PA/Hollidaysburg H.S.) was the Crusaders’ top finisher at the MAC championship meet as she took 25th place with a time of 26:53.02. Freshman Heather Matta (Holyoke, MA/Westfield H.S.) added a 32nd-place finish with a time of 27:06.31 while fellow freshman Emilie Confer (Lancaster, PA/Manheim Township H.S.) is coming off a 50th-place finish at the MAC meet.

A trio of seniors will run for the Crusaders at the Mideast Regionals, led by first-time entrant Jordan Bolduc (Elkton, MD/Padua Academy), who finished 36th at the MAC championships with a time of 27:21.30. Senior Amanda Phillips (Waymart, PA/Western Wayne H.S.) is the veteran of the group as she will be running in her fourth regional meet. Phillips’ best finish was 66th place in 2001 and she is coming off a 40th-place finish at the MAC championships.

Senior Kassi Tylenda (Windsor, NY/Windsor H.S.) did not compete at the MAC championships but will be running in her third Mideast Regional meet, with a best finish of 78th in 2001. Rounding out the field for the Crusaders is freshman Nadya Chmil (Chinchilla, PA/Abington Heights H.S.), who finished 62nd at the conference meet.