(Carlisle, Pa.) – The Dickinson women's and men's cross country teams are both ranked in the top 25, nationally, as the Red Devil women hold the #15-spot while the men rank 21st in the latest U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association polls.
The Red Devils had the weekend off and will continue to prepare for the Centennial Conference Championships at Haverford College on October 27th. The Dickinson women were 13th in the previous poll, turning in an outstanding performance in their last meet, placing third at the Carnegie Mellon Invitational on October 6th.
In the regional rankings, Dickinson is currently third behind conference rivals Johns Hopkins, ranked 2nd in the nation, and Haverford, who ranks just ahead the Devils in the region and the nation, holding the #-14 spot this week.
Haverford will host the Conference Championships for the first time this fall. Competition should be at its highest level as Gettysburg and Muhlenberg rank sixth and seventh in the region, giving the Centennial five of the top seven spots.
The Red Devils will look to junior Taylor Ludman (Willow Street, Pa./Solanco) and Sara Patterson (Houston, Texas/St. John's School) to set the pace. Ludman plowed through the snow to capture the 2011 Centennial Conference individual title and turned in another strong performance to capture the Mideast Regional title as well last fall.
Patterson has led the way throughout the season, crossing the line as the Devils top runner in the first four races of the season, finishing in the top 15 overall in three meets. She did not compete in the CMU Invite, making the third place showing by the rest of the team even more impressive.
First-year Mackenzie Shelgren (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet Regional) has played a key role in her first collegiate season, finishing as the Devils' number-two runner in all five races this fall, and placing in the top ten overall, three times this season. Junior Anne Dyroff (Wayne, Pa./Radnor), and sophomores Sarah Rutkowski (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven) and Molly Thorne (Towson, Md./Towson) will also be contributing factors for the Red Devils' success as they head into the postseason races.
The Centennial Conference Championships will be hosted by Haverford College before the Mideast Regional comes to the Devils' home course at Big Spring High School in Newville, Pa., on November 10th.
The Red Devil men move up to #21 on this week's national poll, ranking fourth in a very competitive Mideast Region. Conference rival Haverford claimed the top spot in the country this week, following a strong performance at the Paul Short Invitational. Four Centennial teams are ranked in the region as Johns Hopkins is behind the Devils in the #5-spot while Swarthmore comes in at #8 this week. Allegheny and Carnegie Mellon rank second and third in the region.
Senior Andrew Fine (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) has emerged as the Devils' top performer so far this fall, leading the team in all five races. He extended the Devils' streak of consecutive Little Three individual titles, posting his first collegiate win this season. He placed second overall at Carnegie Mellon and will look to lead the way as Dickinson looks to unseat the 'Fords on their home course. Dickinson and Haverford are the only two schools to ever claim the Centennial title.
Juniors Henry Mynatt (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) and Ryan Steinbock (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley) have consistently finished in the top three for the Devils this season while classmate Alex Strenta (Hanover, N.H./Hanover) has also proved to be one of the team's top performers. Omar Hyjek (Sewickley, Pa./Quaker Valley) has returned to top form as well. He captured the individual title in the 4k event at the Dickinson Invitational and posted a top ten performance at CMU as the second Red Devil to cross the line.
The Centennial Conference Championship and the NCAA Mideast Regionals should both provide some exciting competition and thrilling races for the men and women. The strength of the teams in the conference and region will create a challenging path to nationals on November 17th. The advancing teams will travel to Terre Haute, Indiana for the 2012 NCAA Championships.