Total Team Effort Leads Devils Back to Nationals
By Dennis Young
(Center Valley, Pa.) - The Dickinson men's cross-country team finished second at the NCAA Mideast Regional championship, matching the best result in program history. Centennial Conference rival Haverford won the title with 52 points, the Red Devils posted 129 for second while longtime regional power Allegheny was a close third with 131. Johns Hopkins was fourth with 169, putting three Centennial Conference teams in the top four. The top two teams in each region receive an automatic bid to next weekend's NCAA Division III championship, meaning that the Devils are headed to Nationals for the fifth year in a row.
While the outcome was historically excellent, it was a difficult day on a muddy course. Junior Andrew Fine (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) was one of the bright spots. Competing in his first ever race on a regional or national level, Fine led the Devils with an 18th place finish in 26:15. One second and two places separated Fine and senior Dylan Straughan (Bethesda, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase), 20th in 26:16. The captain struggled with a side stitch today and will look to have a much stronger performance in Wisconsin next weekend.
Three seconds behind Straughan, also in his first regional race, was sophomore Ryan Steinbock (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley). His 23rd place marked his best race of the season.
After missing the 2009 and 2010 cross-country seasons with injury, senior Ted MacDonald (Langhorne, Pa./Neshaminy) ran his first regional meet since 2008. That year, he finished 32nd. Today, he was 31st, marking another milestone in an extremely impressive comeback.
The first 35 runners are designated All-Region, meaning that Fine, Straughan, Steinbock, and MacDonald found their way to the award stand.
Sophomore Henry Mynatt (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) was the Devils' fifth scorer and 37th overall in 26:43. His return to form after illness struck two weekends ago was a crucial development for the Dickinson men.
Rounding out the top seven were seniors Sean Galiczynski (Ivyland, Pa./Holy Ghost Prep) and Dave Breen (Bolton, MA/Nashoba). They were the sixth and seventh Devils to cross the line on Saturday, meaning that they did not score but were still eligible to displace scorers from other teams. And perhaps never in school history has the displacer role been so relevant.
With 250 meters to go, Galiczynski and Breen were still behind Allegheny's fourth runner, but a furious kick left Galaczynski 40th (26:46), Breen 43rd (26:49), and Mike Vlah of Allegheny 45th (26:50). If the senior duo did not out-sprint Vlah to the finish, Allegheny would be headed to nationals, and the Red Devils would spend their Sunday waiting for the release of the at-large bids.
However, Galiczynski and Breen stepped up when it mattered. And therefore, they and the rest of their teammates will return to competition next Saturday at the NCAA Division III National Championships in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.