The Edinboro women’s cross country team is the top-ranked squad in the final NCAA Division II Women’s Cross Country Atlantic Region Rankings, after winning its second-straight PSAC team title late last month.
The Fighting Scots hope to remain atop the region after this Saturday.
The top-ranked ladies look to defend their back-to-back Atlantic Region team titles this Saturday at the 2015 NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Championships, hosted by Lock Haven University.
“We definitely head into this meet on a high note,” head coach Rick Hammer said about his women’s team. “We come in conference champs and ranked top in the region.”
On paper, Edinboro’s Emma Sullivan is the top returning women’s runner as she is the highest returning finisher from last year’s regional championship. However, Boro’s Ida Narbuvoll may be the favorite to claim the individual women’s crown as she continues her sensational freshman campaign after winning the individual PSAC title last month.
“We will be able to let them go a little more on Saturday,” Hammer said of his ladies overall. “We held them back a little bit in PSACs because of the hills.”
The men’s team enters Saturday the fifth ranked team in the regional polls. The Scots are looking to capture its first regional title since 2012, when they won their second of back-to- back, but would settle for qualifying for the national championships.
“On the men’s side we concluded our 8,000 meter season as we go to 10,000 meters at regionals this Saturday,” Hammer said. “I think it plays to the strengths of our men’s program. I think you will see Elliot [Martynkiewicz] compete near the top again and hopefully steal that last bid to nationals.”
The top three finishing teams, both men and women, on Saturday, guarantee themselves a spot in the NCAA Division II National Championships in Joplin, Missouri on Nov. 21.
Martynkiewicz looks to be a top- ten contender this Saturday, after finishing second in the men’s race at the conference championships at Slippery Rock.
The regional championships is in the group of the big three meets that Hammer always talks about. It actually means the most, according to the coach.
“We always have our eyes set on the national meet, but it is not an ‘all- comers’ meet,” he said. “You qualify by your performance at the regional meet. We are just trying to qualify by doing what we have been doing this season.”
Tyler Trumbauer is the Sports Editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org