Nov. 9, 2012
MADISON, Conn. – Army cross country concluded its 2012 season on Friday at the NCAA Northeast Regional hosted by Yale and Fairfield at Hammonassett State Park in Madison, Conn. Despite coming up short on qualifying bids to the NCAA Championships, the Black Knights’ day was highlighted by Army’s top individual performance by a female in program history, and the best finish by a male runner since 2008.
The Black Knight women placed 21st as a team in the field of 37. The Army men finished 14th of 34 as a team, their best mark since 2008 (13th).
The top-two teams from each race received automatic bids to the NCAA Championships as Iona and Columbia swiped the invites on the men’s side and Providence and Connecticut collected the women’s berths.
Iona’s Mitch Goose won the individual men’s title with a 10K time of 30:04.5 while Abbey D'Agostino of Dartmouth captured the women’s crown with a 6K finish of 19:51.1.
The Army women were once again led by sophomore Lisa Junta who ran to a 34th-place finish with a 6-kilometer time of 20:51.2. Junta’s finish is the best by a Black Knight in the history of NCAA Regional competition, dating back to 1998. Wrapping up her sophomore campaign, Junta earned the Black Knights’ top time in every meet this season.
Following Junta was senior Mary Prakel who captured 118th place with a time of 22:17.9. Sophomore Rachel King (146th, 22:44.5), senior Jill Busby (150th, 22:49.4) and sophomore Katrina Mecklenberg (183rd, 23:18.1) rounded out Army’s top five.
On the men’s side, junior Ricardo Galindo earned his seventh consecutive top finish for Army, placing 35th in a field of 239 runners. Galindo completed the 10K course in 31:12.7. The 35th-place time was Army’s best since 2008, when Jon Anderson claimed a 14th-place mark. Like Junta, Galindo has led Army in every meet this season, including his individual win against rival Navy.
Rounding out the Army men’s top five were junior Kendall Ward (86th, 32:07.1) and seniors Mark Castelli (94th, 32:18.9), James Hodgen (118th, 32:39.7) and team captain Kevin Russell (32:40.9).
“Our injury-plagued season really hurt our women’s team this season, but there were bright spots and Lisa’s race today was definitely one of those. We do feel good about the experience our younger kids got this year and will have that under their belts when they return next year.
“Our men did awfully well – the best since our 2008 team which was a Patriot League Championship squad. Our Nos. 2 through 5 runners really stuck together and made it a great team meet.”