DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire men's and women's cross country teams are set to compete at the America East Championships on Saturday, Oct. 29 hosted by the University at Albany. The women's 5K race is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. while the men's 8K race kicks off at 11:30 a.m.
The women's squad is fresh off a first-place finish at the 45th Annual UAlbany Invitational on Oct. 15 as the Wildcats occupied the top-four places led by junior Keely Maguire (Georgetown, Mass.), who finished first overall in 17:22. Senior Sydney Fitzpatrick (Billerica, Mass.), sophomore Elise Beattie (Woodstock, Ill.) and junior Darcy James (Exeter, N.H.) secured the following three spots in times of 17:43, 17:46 and 17:47, respectively. The 'Cats captured the event for the second-straight year, finishing with 29 points to top the 23-team field before the team returns to the same Albany course for Saturday's championship race.
The UNH women finished second at last year's championship meet and will turn to the tandem of Maguire and Fitzpatrick to lead the pack this time around. The veteran duo has been a consistent force all season, as Maguire topped all Wildcats runners at the Paul Short Invitational (25th overall) and the recent UAlbany Invite (1st overall), while Fitzpatrick paced the team at the season-opening tri-meet against Providence and Maine (2nd overall). Fitzpatrick was the top finisher for the Wildcats at the 2010 conference championships, placing sixth overall at 17:36. The balanced New Hampshire squad will also count on a talented group of underclassmen, led by Beattie, who finished fifth overall at the Dartmouth Invitational earlier this season.
The men's side also had the chance to test out the championship course with a fourth-place finish at the UAlbany Invitational. Junior Kent Harlow (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) placed 15th overall for the men in 26:02 and graduate student Andrew Dionne (Westerly, R.I.) also finished in the top-30, placing 27th in 26:19.
The New Hampshire men will look to make a run for the program's ninth America East title in the last 15 years after placing ninth at the conference meet last season. The 'Cats are led by senior Daniel DeCrescenzo (New Milford, Conn.), who turned-in a top-10 finish at the season-opening tri-meet against Providence and Maine, and also paced the squad with an eighth-place performance at the Paul Short Invitational (7th overall). Harlow, who ran to a 35th-place finish at last year's conference meet, will also look for a strong showing after pacing the team at the previous two meets. Others to look for are Dionne and sophomore Joseph Jourdain (Hudson, N.H.), who finished 38th and 65th and the 2010 conference championships, respectively.