Panther Cross Country Teams Headed to NCAA Championships

Panther Cross Country Teams Headed to NCAA Championships

The Middlebury College men's and women's cross country teams have been selected to take part in the 2017 NCAA Championship races hosted by Principia College. The events will take place on November 18 at the Principia College North Farm Cross Country Course in Elsah, Illinois. The men's race will begin at 12:00 p.m. followed by the women's race at 1:15 p.m.

The 12th-ranked women are making their 22nd-straight appearance at the event, looking for a seventh NCAA crown. The Panthers previously won titles in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2010 with second-place finishes in 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2011. Middlebury earned an at-large bid to the championships after a fourth-place finish at last weekend's NCAA New England Regional race. On a conference level, the Panthers have captured the NESCAC Championship on 13 different occasions, finishing in the runner-up spot this season with 77 points.

Making the trip for the Panther women will be senior captain Read Allen, juniors Alexis Jakubowski, Rory Kelly, Katherine MacCary and Abigail Nadler. Joining them will be sophomore Meg Wilson, along with first-year racers Tasha Greene and Katherine Glew.

Nadler finished ninth at the NESCAC Championship with a time of 22:25.7 over the 6K course in late October. This season, she has finished in the top-nine spots in four of the six races she has run, including a win during the Aldrich Invitational hosted by Middlebury in September. Last weekend at the NCAA regional meet, she earned her third-straight fifth-place finish with a mark of 20:49.4.

MacCary has also been a consistent top runner this season for the Panthers. She has garnered top-20 efforts in five of her seven competitions this fall, including leading Middlebury to the finish line with a seventh-place showing at the NESCAC Championship (22:22.5).

The 16th-ranked men are making their eighth-straight trip to the NCAA Championship meet. The Panthers have finished in 26th place or better in the previous seven championship meets, highlighted by a seventh-place finish in 2013. Middlebury earned its way into the event with an at-large bid after placing third in the NCAA New England Regional race last weekend. On the conference level, the Panthers won their first NESCAC title in 2010 followed by another crown three years later in 2013. This fall, Middlebury earned a runner-up finish at the league meet with 66 points.

Competing for the men will be senior captain Ascencion Aispuro, juniors Connor Evans, Harrison Knowlton, Miles Meijer and Andrew Michelson. Rounding out the group will be sophomores Henry Fleming and Theo Henderson, along with first-year runner Matt D'Aquila.

Aispuro has run to a top-10 spot in four races this fall, including an eighth-place finish at the NESCAC Championship with a time of 25:37.3 over the 8K course. Last Saturday at the NCAA regional, he led the Panthers to the line in fourth place 25:32.9.

D'Aqulia is another point scorer for the Panther men in his first season. He has collected top-15 finishes in each of the last three races, placing 12th in both the Connecticut College Invitational (25:41.1) and the NESCAC Championship (25:42.5). During the NCAA Regional, he stopped the clock with a 25:50.9.