NAC Championship: Men's Cross Country

NAC Championship: Men's Cross Country

Saturday's Championship: The 2017 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Men's Cross Country Championship will take place this Saturday, October 28, at Mount Blue High School hosted by the University of Maine at Farmington. The men's race (8K) will start at 11:00 a.m., followed by the women's (5k) race at 12:00 p.m. 

Coaches' Poll: In preparation for the 2017 Championship, a poll was conducted among the league's head men's cross country coaches on how they believe the race will finish.

Colby-Sawyer was selected to repeat as the champion after receiving six first-place votes for a total of 116 points in the pre-championship poll, while UMaine-Farmington, last year's runner-up, garnered four first-place votes for 108 points to claim second and Castleton took third with 98 points and the remaining first-place vote.

Maine Maritime was tabbed fourth with 91 points, while Thomas was fifth (70 points), Husson took sixth (66 points) and Lyndon was voted seventh (47 points). Rounding out the 2017 Pre-Championship Poll were Green Mountain in eighth (37 points), UMaine-Presque Isle in ninth (36 points), Johnson in 10th (31 points) and New England College in 11th (26 points). 

Participating Teams: 100 male student-athletes from 11 different institutions will run for the 2017 conference title, as host UMF will be joined by squad from Castleton, Colby-Sawyer, Green Mountain, Husson, Johnson, Lyndon, Maine Maritime, New England College, UMaine-Presque Isle and Thomas. 

The Course: For a course map of the men's 8K race, please click HERE.  

The Mariners: Maine Maritime will be led by freshman Brandon Goud (Wiscasset, Maine), senior Zachary Kinsman (Lebanon, N.H.) and freshman Cole Brundige (Bainbridge Island, Wash.).

Goud led the Mariners in three races this season, including the UMF Invitational on September 2. Goud placed ninth at the event, which took place at the same course as Saturday's Championship. Most recently, Goud was the top finisher for the Mariners at the State of Maine Championship.

Kinsman led the Mariners at the UMass.-Dartmouth Invite and the Mariner Invitational.

Brundige led the Mariners at the UNE Invite in September. 

Freshmen Aylen Wolf (Surry, Maine) and Alex Wicks (Woolwich, Maine) are also Mariners to watch, since they have been consistent top five finishers for the Mariners this season.

A Look Back at the 2016 Championship: The Colby-Sawyer Chargers claimed the 2016 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Men's Cross Country Championship. Grandon Smith of Castleton was the men's individual champion as he completed the course in 26:22.4.

The Chargers earned first place after scoring 25 points with five runners in the top eight. The 8k championship race included 101 total runners, representing 11 schools.

The men's runner-up was UMaine-Farmington, as the Beavers turned in an 87, while Castleton was third (88), Thomas was fourth (128), followed by Maine Maritime (141), Husson (150), Lyndon (161) UMaine-Presque Isle (178), New England College (193), Johnson State (312) and Green Mountain (333). 

2017 Preview Meet: On Saturday, September 2, six of the 11 NAC men's cross country teams competed in the UMF Invitational, which served as a preview for the 2017 NAC Championship. Colby-Sawyer topped all teams in the race after scoring 36 points, while UMaine-Farmington took third with 71 points and Maine Maritime placed fourth with 93 points. UMaine-Presque Isle took sixth (197), New England College was seventh (228), and Thomas did not score as a team after running with only three student-athletes.

Maine Maritime Last Season at the NAC Championship: Spencer Boonstra placed 20th overall at the 2016 North Atlantic Conference Championships to lead the Mariners to fifth place team finish with a team score of 141.

Boonstra finished the 8K course with a time of 29:19.0, followed by teammate Chase Hughes in 22nd place with a time of 29.37.9. Josh Richards placed 30th with a time of 30:20.0, Victor Skorapa finished just behind in 31st and Paul Ferreira rounded out the top five finishers for the Mariners in 38th place.

Colby-Sawyer claimed the Championship with a combined scored of 25, placing five runners in the top ten. Castleton University's Grandon Smith crossed the line first among the 101 runners, with a time of 26:22.4.

The men's runner-up was UMaine-Farmington, as the Beavers turned in an 87, while Castleton University was third (88), Thomas was fourth (128), followed by Husson (150) in sixth place, Lyndon (161) UMaine-Presque Isle (178), New England College (193), Johnson State (312) and Green Mountain (333).

Looking forward: Saturday's race will serve as a final tune up before the NCAA Division III New England Regional Championships hosted by the University of Southern Maine at Gorham Country Club (Gorham, Maine) on Saturday, November 11. Teams and runners are ultimately hoping to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships scheduled for Saturday, November 18, in Elsah, Ill. at North Farm Facility.