No. 3 Saints to Begin 2011 Campaign at Plattsburgh State
Sept. 2: The St. Lawrence University men's cross country team, ranked first in the Atlantic Region and third in the country, will open its 2011 season on Saturday in Plattsburgh, NY at the annual "Cardinal Classic."
The Saints boast an impressive schedule this season, including the Paul Short Invitational, and are set to host the Hoffmann/Pre-Regional, the New York State Championships and NCAA Atlantic Regional.
"I am excited about the potential of this team," said head coach John Newman, whose squad earned third place overall at the 2010 NCAA Championship, the highest in program history. "We were obviously excited about the way we finished last fall, but have used that excitement to motivate ourselves for the 2011 season."
The Saints lost three members of last season's NCAA team to graduation, including All-Americans Dan Ramsey and Jeremy Mwenda as well as co-captain Chris Funch. However, the 2011 squad will be anchored by senior All-Americans John Johnston and Steve Kiplagat as well as classmate Seth Jackson.
Johnston had a breakout junior year, earning Liberty League Runner of the Year honors by virtue of earning All-America status and winning the conference championship. The Rockwood, ON native was 12th at NCAA's last fall and finished runner-up at the NYSCTC Championship. Meanwhile, Kiplagat also earned All-America honors thanks to a fourth place individual finish at the NCAA Championship with a career-best time of 24:25.
Jackson emerged as one of St. Lawrence's premier runners last fall, as he was 46th at NCAA's with a career-best time of 25:07. The Baldwinsville, NY native was the runner-up at the Liberty League Championship race and was fifth at the NYSCTC event.
Veteran runners senior Alex Calderwood and junior Sam Rakoc have continued to improve and will add depth alongside seniors Andrew Goodwin and Mike Fox and sophomore Zach Nelson, who are back to full strength after battling injuries in the fall of 2010. Meanwhile, sophomores Brendan Courneene and Jon Eng will look to make an impact this fall as they nearly worked their way into the team's top-7 last year as rookies.
Newcomers Scott Smolensky, Aaron Tompkins and Daniel Driscoll will also be looking to contribute in the team's top-7 during their opening seasons.
"I'm thrilled to have five outstanding rookies that we've added to the program this fall," said Coach Newman. "Each has so much talent that, with hard work, will look to continue improving for years to come."
The 2011 Cardinal Classic is scheduled to begin at 11:00am on Saturday, September 3.