CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The first Patriot League titles of the 2012-13 season will be crowned on Saturday with the 2012 Cross Country Championships held at Colgate University's Harry H. Lang Course.
The championship begins with the women's race at 11 a.m., followed by the men's competition starting at Noon.
Navy enters both the men and women's race as the defending champion, and was also selected as the preseason favorite in each event. The American men and Bucknell women were each picked right behind the Mids after finishing second at last year's championships, and both teams have shown the ability to challenge Navy during the 2012 season.
Individual champion Chris Johnson returns on the men's side, and the Colgate senior will go for a repeat performance on his home course. He will have to fight off a field that includes six All-League runners from last season and others that have emerged as contenders in 2012.
Bucknell's Caroline Tolli and Navy's Annie-Norah Beveridge and Brigid Byrne are back after receiving All-League status in last year's women's race. Beveridge has enjoyed a strong 2012 campaign that included a record five Patriot League M-F Athletic Runner of the Week awards. But she'll face competition from runners like Army's Lisa Junta and Colgate's Olivia Brackett in addition to Tolli and her teammate Byrne.
A video preview and championships notebook are included below.
Colgate Hosts Cross Country Championships
The 2012 Patriot League Cross Country Championships will be held at Colgate's Harry H. Lang Course on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. with the women's 6K race, followed by the men's 8K race at Noon. Navy has been picked to win each of the races in preseason poll voting, and is defending champion on both the men and women's side.
Harry H. Lang Hosting History
Colgate is hosting the Patriot League Cross Country Championships for the fifth time, and third in the last seven years. Titles have been won at the course by Bucknell (1997), Army (2001), American (2006) and Navy (2009) on the men's side, while the women's titles at Colgate have gone to Army (1997) and Bucknell (2001, 2006, 2009).
The 2012 season has come full circle, as the majority of Patriot League squads began their season by running at the Harry H. Lang Course on Sept. 1. In the men's race, Navy finished second overall and led all Patriot League teams, and was followed by American (3rd), Bucknell (5th), Colgate (6th) and Holy Cross (7th). Bucknell beat out the Mids in the women's race, placing second overall to finish one spot ahead of Navy. Colgate (5th), Holy Cross (6th) and American (7th) completed the women's field at the event.
Defending Champion Headlines Men's Race
Colgate senior Chris Johnson will have a chance to defend his individual title on his home course. Johnson won last year's Patriot League Cross Country race with a time of 24:53.9 at Lehigh's Goodman Campus. He aims to become the second consecutivee and eighth overall repeat champion in the men's race, but will face a field that includes returning All-Patriot Leaguers such as American's Mark Allen and John Pope, Navy's Kyle Satterwhite and Robbie Patterson, Bucknell's John Dugan and Army's Dan Jester. Lehigh's Tyler Mueller, Navy's Chris Galvin and Army's Ricky Galindo have also enjoyed outstanding 2012 seasons, while Navy's Steven Schroeder has won three Rookie of the Week awards.
The Navy men will go for their fifth consecutive team title following a year where they have finished second in the Harry Lang Invitational and won the Navy Invitational, coming in one spot ahead of American in each instance. The Eagles were picked second in the men's preseason poll.
Three All-League Runners Back for Women's Race
Only three of last year's All-Patriot League selections return for the women's 6K, with Bucknell's Caroline Tolli as the only returning first-team recipient after placing fifth at the 2011 Patriot League Championships. Navy's Annie-Norah Beveridge and Brigid Byrne each earned second-team honors last year, while Beveridge has been the big story on the women's side in 2012 with a record five Patriot League M-F Athletic Runner of the Week awards. She received the honor in her last four weeks of competition and was Navy's top finisher in five of six events this year. Army's Lisa Junta and Colgate's Olivia Brackett, who won three Rookie of the Week honors, looked poised to challenge after strong seasons.
Navy is going in search of a repeat title, but the Mids will certainly face a challenge. Bucknell, which was picked second in the preseason poll, beat out Navy at the Harry Lang Invitational in September. The Bison were just three points behind the Mids in last year's championship race. Army, picked third, won the Iona Meet of Champions on Sept. 15.