BETHLEHEM, Pa.- The Monmouth University men’s and women’s cross country teams finished 15th and 19th respectively at the NCAA Division I Mid-Atlantic Regionals in Bethlehem, Pa. on Friday afternoon. Khari Bowen (Monroe, N.J./Monroe Township) led the men with a 25th place finish, completing the 10k course in 30:45 and was named All-Region. Amanda Eller (Millville, N.J./Millville) paced the women, coming across in 21:17 on the 6k course, the second best individual place at Lehigh ever in MU history and the best time.
“Khari’s race was one of the most impressive we’ve ever had in cross country,” said Head Coach Joe Compagni. “Amanda also had a tremendous race. We had a few more string efforts as well, but we missed out on an opportunity to finish a few spots higher on both sides.”
On the men’s side, it was Bowen leading the way with a 25th place mark. He became the second Hawk ever to be named All-Region, and the first since Josh Horner who placed 16th in 1997. Bowen’s 10k time is also a Monmouth school record at the Lehigh course. The next three Hawks to come across finished in the 32:00 minute mark, with Alex Leight (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge), Domenick D’Agostino (Wallington, N.J./Wallington), and Patrick Ryan (Leonia, N.J./Leonia) coming across finishing 15 seconds apart between 32:10 and 32:25. The 33:00 marker brought across three more Hawks, with freshman Kevin Summonte (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) joining Anthony Branco (Old Bridge, N.J./Matawan) and Tommy Darlington (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem) in the MU top-seven. Summonte’s mark is an MU freshman best at Lehigh, breaking Felix Olivo’s 1995 mark.
Winning the men’s race was Villanova, posting a 34 point score. The top five included Princeton, Georgetown, Penn and Penn State. Monmouth placed 15th, with 407 points, just one place behind MAAC foe Rider. The 15th place mark is the second best finish at Lehigh in MU history. The women’s race was also taken by Villanova (31 points), and the Wildcats were trailed by Georgetown, Penn State, West Virginia and Princeton in the top five. Monmouth finished 19th with 540 points, just two points behind 18th place UMBC.
Individually for the women, Eller was the top finisher in 41st, with the next six Hawks crossing in just 1:08. Lucia Montefusco (Levittown, N.Y./MacArthur) finished in 22:20, and was followed by freshmen Lennon Cooper (Holmdel, N.J./Holmdel) and Kristen Rodgers-Erickson (High Bridge, N.J./Voorhees). Nina Poccia (Morristown, N.J./Pope John XXIII) crossed the line in exactly 23:00, and the Monmouth top-seven was rounded out by Jenna Cupp (Newark Valley, N.Y./Newark Valley) and Danielle Branco (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge).
The men’s and women’s cross country teams will wrap up the 2013 season at the ECAC & IC4A Championships next Friday, November 23 at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, N.Y.