Saturday's Race: The University of Southern Maine will host the NCAA Division III New England Regional Women's Cross Country Championships on Saturday, November 11th at the Gorham Country Club. Saturday's meet will begin with the 8k men's race at 11:00 a.m. followed by the 6k women's race at 12:00 p.m.
The Mariners: Sierra James (Campton, N.H.), Julia Dillon (Norway, Maine), Alex Allen (Easton, Maine), Abigail L'Abbé (Topsham, Maine), Jessica Lindsay (Limestone, Maine), Charlette Bradley (Slidell, La.) and Olivia Smith (China, Maine) will represent the Mariners.
James, Allen, L'Abbé and Bradley all return after competing last year.
Participants: The women's field features seven teams that are ranked among the top 35 in the November 1 USTFCCCA (United State Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) Division III poll. Second-ranked MIT leads the parade of nationally-ranked teams, followed closely by Williams College in fourth place and Middlebury College in eighth. All three teams have been ranked among the top ten all season long.
Tufts University (13th), Bates College (16th), W.P.I. (31st) and Amherst College (35th) are also among the top 35 in the national poll. Other regionally-ranked teams include Bowdoin College, Brandeis University and Wesleyan University.
Among the conference champions competing will be Eastern Connecticut State University (Little East Conference), the University of New England (Commonwealth Coast Conference), Norwich University (Great Northeast Athletic Conference), Westfield State University (MASCAC), Lesley University (Northeast Collegiate Conference), Williams (New England Small College Athletic Conference), M.I.T. (New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference), and Colby-Sawyer College (North Atlantic Conference).
MIT won last year's women's regional title scoring 68 points. Williams placed second with 71 points, followed by Tufts with 77, Middlebury with 149 and Bates with 167. Last year's individual champion, Tufts University senior Brittany Bowman, returns to defend her regional title.
Last Season: Maine Maritime Academy's Jessica Faltings finished 242nd out of 406 runners at last year's NCAA Regional Championship hosted by Westfield State, to lead the Maine Maritime Academy women's cross country team to a 54th place finish.
Faltings completed the 6K course at Stanley Park with a time of 25:26.54 to lead the Mariners, while Alex Allen placed 316th with a time of 26:50.46. Nerissa Larrabee placed 360th, followed by Abigail L'Abbé in 362nd and Mary Shea rounded out the top five for the Mariners finished in 367th place.
MIT took the team victory, placing three runners in the top 15, while Tufts University's Brittany Bowman took the top place with a time of 21:14.29.
The Race: The women's race is slated to start at 12:00 p.m. and will cover 6,000 meters.
What's Next: The top two teams from each race will receive the New England region's two automatic qualifying spots for the NCAA Division III National Championship race on November 18 at the North Farm Cross Country Facility in Elsah, Illinois, hosted by Principia College.
Other top finishing teams from each region will vie for at-large bids into the 32-team field that will be announced Sunday afternoon. The top seven individuals in each region from non-qualifying teams will also make the national championship field.