VESTAL, N.Y. – Following a third place finish at last year's America East Championships, the UMBC men's cross country team wanted more. A year later, the Retrievers got it, winning the league title Saturday morning at Binghamton University.
Sophomore Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) led the way for the Retrievers for the third time this season, earning a third-place finish and a spot on the All-Conference squad by crossing the line in a time of 25:07.32. Senior Andrew Smith (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley) joined Omar on the All-Conference team by placing tenth for UMBC with an 8k time of 25:20.35.
Paced by Omar and Smith, UMBC (58 pts.) edged out meet-host Binghamton (65 pts.) by just seven points after clipping the Bearcats by six points at the America East Pre-Conference Meet to start the season. Stony Brook (70 pts.) and New Hampshire (72 pts.) made it a crowded top end, taking third and fourth place. Maine (110 pts.) and Albany (162 pts.) took fifth and sixth with Vermont (200 pts.), UMass Lowell (224 pts.), and Hartford (253 pts.) finishing out the nine-team standings.
With the Retriever win, head coach Matt Gittermann and his staff were named the 2013 America East Coaching Staff of the Year.
New Hampshire's John Prizzi won the individual championship by completing the 8k course in a course-record time of 24:55.22.
Omar, who finished fourth at the Pre-Conference meet on the same course back on Sept. 7, improved his time by over half a minute (25:40.2) while Smith jumped from 13th to tenth with a near 46-second improvement (26:06.0).
Senior Jake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley) just missed out on the top-ten, but continued his strong season by giving the Retrievers a 12th-place finish (25:25.27) on Saturday. Sophomore Austin Hayslett (Mount Airy, Md./Urbana) was just two spots back in 14th (25:28.94) while 2012 All-Conference member Brandan McGee (Hiram, Ohio/Crestwood) made sure all five UMBC scorers were in the top-20 by taking 19th (25:36.66).
Behind the scorers, senior Vinny DiSalvo (Washingtonville, N.Y./Washingtonville), junior Eric Schuler (Columbia, Md./Reservoir), and freshman Jon Luckin (Parkton, Md./Hereford) provided great cover for the Retrievers by all claiming top-30 spots.
UMBC now looks to make a run at a regional championship when the Retrievers head to Lehigh on Nov. 15 for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals.