Rakoc 6th, Saints Land At Large Bid To Championship
Nov. 10: St. Lawrence University cross country senior Sam Rakoc knows he has another race to run after Saturday's NCAA Atlantic Regional Qualifier at Genesee Valley Park in Rochester, but the question of whether or not he was to have company had to wait until the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship committee filled the rest of the field on Sunday.
He will, as the Saints were among those teams qualified for at-large berths in the field to be selected by committee. The Saints will be making their fifth straight team appearance in the championships when they run in Terre Haute, IN on Nov. 17.
Rakoc was sixth overall, running the 8 kilometer course in 25:34.4 and the second finisher among runners not on an automatic qualifying team to guarantee a spot in the championship. The Saint team finished fifth in the 44-team field and has a shot at team qualification based on past Atlantic region history. The region has typically sent five teams to the NCAA championship, but the Saints had to wait until Sunday's announcement of the full field to make their travel plans.
NYU and Geneseo took the region's automatic bids, NYU winning the regional title with 50 points with Geneseo second with 59. Cortland was third with 94 points followed by host Rochester with 131 and the Saints with 146. All five teams have been ranked in the top 30 nationally throughout the season with the Saints ranked 24th heading into the regional.
Freshman Spencer Patterson was the second Saint finisher in Saturday's race, finishing 18th in 25:59.4. Junior Brendan Courneene was 29th in 26:14.1 while freshman Wesley Kirui turned in one of his top races of the season, fourth among Saint runners and 34rd overall in 26:25.5. Sophomore Trevor Bibb completed the Saint scoring with a 50th place finish in 26:31.9 while Scott Smolensky was the sixth Saint finisher in 26:40.8, 57th overall, and Phil Marshall was the seventh finisher, 60th overall in 26:43.2.
This is the Saints fifth straight NCAA appearance, a program record and the 16th in program history.