PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - - For the sixth time in the last eight years, the Wilmington University men's cross country team captured the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championship, running in the rain on Sunday afternoon on Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park. The women finished fifth overall battling the rain and sloppy course.
The men's team has captured back-to-back CACC Championships in 2012-2013, 2015-2016, and now 2018-2019. This year, the men earned 39 points, getting all five scorers to be named All-CACC, defeating second place Bloomfield by 22 points.
The Wildcats were led by Garrett Checchi's third place finish, as he ran through the rain and mud to cross the line in 28:04.2. Right behind Checchi was Michael Dowd in fourth place, as he crossed 1.5 seconds later with a time of 28:05.7. Brandon Cruz was a part of the trio that started out fast for the Wildcats, finishing seventh overall with a time of 28:20.7.
The next grouping is where the Wildcats were able to win it, as Will Rehrig finished 13th overall with a time of 28:44.1. James Kennedy was right behind Rehrig in 14th place overall, rounding out the Wildcats scoring with a time of 28:46.6.
Shannon Dooley narrowly missed All-CACC with a 19th place finish, crossing the line in 29:19.7 while Logan Strouse rounded out the Wildcat men on the course with a 47th place finish with a time of 31:52.4.
The Top 15 finishers are automatically named All-CACC. Chestnut Hill's Ziggy Fisher earned CACC Runner of the Year accolades by winning the event in a time of 27:42.2, over seven seconds faster than second place Hussein Emeshad of Georgian Court.
The course was really wet and sloppy for the women's race, as they followed the men in the Championship this season. The Wildcats picked up 120 points, finishing fifth overall.
The Wildcats were led by freshman Annabel Cortez, as she earned All-CACC honors with a ninth place finish, running her first CACC Championship in 21:09.1. Sophomore Grace Slate finished 23rd overall with a time of 21:59.2 while junior Julia Merritt was the third Wildcat to finish with a time of 22:15.0 for a 27th place finish.
The next three Wildcats all finished in a pack, as Emily Kockott finished 30th with a time of 22:53.8, Alexa Crowell finishing 31st overall with a. time of 22:56.1, and Allyson Kelly placing 32nd overall with a time of 22:59.2.
Nicole Harris rounded out the Wildcats on the course with a 42nd place finish, running her first CACC Championship in a time of 23:43.5.
Jefferson narrowly beat out Felician for the title, earning 42 points to Felician's 48. Georgian Court finished third with 69 points. Georgian Court's Kaitlyn Bragen won the CACC Runner of the Year award for finishing first overall with a time of 19:48.1, beating the field by nearly 26 seconds.
The Wildcats will be right back on Belmont Plateau for their next race, as the NCAA Division II East Regional Championship will also be held in Fairmount Park. The races are scheduled for Saturday, November 9.