2018 Men’s Cross Country Season Preview

Senior captain Andrew Michelson and the Panthers open their season on September 8 at the Vermont Tech Invitational.
Senior captain Andrew Michelson and the Panthers open their season on September 8 at the Vermont Tech Invitational.

The Middlebury men's cross country roster features seasoned veterans in addition to talented newcomers in 2018. Following a runner-up finish last fall at the NESCAC Championships and a 15th-place performance during the NCAA Championship meet, the squad looks to improve its finish this fall at the national event in Wisconsin.

Under the guidance of eighth-year head coach Nicole Wilkerson, Middlebury brings back a deep squad filled with plenty of race experience. Six of the team's top-seven runners return to the lineup, providing a promising future for the Panthers. The men's team is ranked for the fourth-consecutive time in the Division III preseason poll at No. 11. 

Lost due to graduation were an All-American along with other contributors in the lineup. Despite the absence of that particular group, Wilkerson is excited for the 2018 campaign to begin. This year's edition of the roster features a squad bolstered with experience to go along with an influx of youth.

Leading this group will be senior captains Miles Meijer and Andrew Michelson along with classmate Harrison Knowlton. Juniors Theo Henderson, Henry Fleming and Will Meyer along with sophomore Matt D'Aquila also return after solid seasons last fall. Knowlton produced three top-seven finishes last fall, including a seventh-place run at the NESCAC Championship to earn all-league honors and a 25th-place effort at the NCAA regionals for all-region accolades.  

Meijer finished 23rd at the league's meet and among the upper tier during both the NCAA regional and national meets, while Michelson was fourth in the Aldrich Invitational and was a steady point scorer throughout the season. Henderson earned all-region honors with a 31st-place run and was the third Panther to cross the finish line at the NCAA Championships, while Fleming also tallied all-region laurels and was a participant on the national team. Meyer scored points during last fall for the Panthers at several invitationals.

D'Aquila returns to the lineup after being selected as the NESCAC's Male Rookie of the Year and an all-region honoree following his 15th-place run. He was the second Middlebury runner to cross the line at his initial NCAA meet, posting a 90th-place showing out of 279 runners.

Others in the mix for scoring spots are senior Benjamin Hill to go along with a talented class of first-year runners.

The Panthers will begin their season when they travel to eastern Vermont to take part in the Vermont Tech Invitational on September 8. They will turn around one week later to host the annual Aldrich Invitational on September 15, while participating in the Vermont State Meet on September 29 hosted by Northern Vermont University-Lyndon. The 2018 NESCAC Championship will be contested on October 27 in Franklin Park, Massachusetts, while the NCAA Championship meet will be held at the Lake Breeze Golf Club on November 17 in Winneconne, Wisconsin.