The Cannoneer Men's and Women's Cross Country teams headed to Westfield, MA this past Saturday for the NJCAA DIII National Championship meet in what turned out to be the largest National meet to date with 45 schools sending runners to compete. All 9 runners competing in the meet for the Cannoneers and ran personal best times for the distance averaging over 1 minute faster than they have ever run before – the Cannoneers came ready to race!
The men started things off with Adama Samake leading the Cannoneer over the 8-kilometer course. Adama ran a strong second half and was able to move up over the last quarter of the race to finish in 166th with a time of 34:21. He was followed by Oscar Middleton in 186th with a time of 37:37 and then Jacob Maloney in 188th with a time of 38:08.
The Lady Cannoneers were up next where they averaged 1 minute and 41 seconds faster than they have ever run. They came off 2 close meets at MSAC when they finished 2nd and only 3 points behind Corning CC and at the NJCAA DIII Region III meet where they finished 3rd just 3 points behind Hudson Valley CC and 8 points behind Corning CC in a very tight race. At the National Championship meet this past Saturday the Lady Cannoneers ran their best when it mattered the most. All 6 Cannoneer runners got out fast and looked comfortable. They were led by freshmen standouts Alannah Cook and Madison Neukirch who worked together through the latter part of the race and finished 29th and 35th overall (16th and 21st in team scoring) with times of 22:16 and 22:27 respectively. They were followed by 2 more freshmen in Shania Spicer and Hanna Neukirch whose outstanding performances were instrumental in the teams 7th place finish. They finished the 5-kilometer course in 55th and 74th overall (35th and 45th in team scoring) with times of 23:52 and 25:11 respectively. The final key runners for the Lady Cannoneers where Maddison Sochia and Erica Dixon whose performances helped secure the highest finish in school history at the national competition as they finished with great late race surges finishing in 90th and 114th (52nd and 60th in team scoring) with times of 26:47 and 31:25 respectively.
The Lady Cannoneers finished in 7th place, 1 point ahead of Corning and just 6 points out of 6th place. This is the highest finish in school history (previously 11th by the 2015 team). Alannah Cook's 29th place finish is the second-best finish individually by a Cannoneer runner and Madison Neukirch's 35th place is the 4th best by any Cannoneer runner. Excellent and exciting end to the Cannoneer Cross Country season!