August 18, 2019 | 74° F

Rutgers preps for NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships Friday

Photo by Thomas Boniello |

The Rutgers men’s cross country team is preparing for the upcoming NCAA 2018 Division I Cross Country Championships on Friday, Nov. 9. The meet will be hosted by Penn State in State College, Pa.

The Blue and White Golf Courses will serve as the site for the championship races, which consists of a 10-kilometer race for the men and a 6-kilometer race for the women. The men’s 10k will start at 1:00 p.m., after the women’s 6k at noon.

“This race is the qualifier for the NCAA Championships. It shows you where you are in your NCAA region," said head coach Mike Mulqueen. "We are in the Mid-Atlantic region. There are 36 teams that can enter."

Last year, 26 colleges from the Mid-Atlantic Region competed on the Lehigh Goodman Campus Cross Country Course in Bethlehem, Pa. Lehigh University was the host last year.

Princeton took the title as champions in the men’s 10k, with all of their runners finishing with a total time of 2:33:43. Navy finished in second place with a total time of 2:34:35 and Villanova finished in third place with a total time of 2:34:43.

The Knights finished in 13th place, combining their runners time to 2:39:12. The team's average time together was 31:50.

Then-junior Conor Murphy led the Rutgers team in the NCAA 2017 Division I Cross Country Championships, clocking in at 31:25. He placed 46th out of a field of 180 runners.

Five Scarlet Knights who made the top 100 were junior Cole Pschunder (31:42.6), sophomore Patrick Walsh (31:44.4), alumni Trent Brinkofski (32:07.6) and Luke Wiley (32:11.9).

The last finishers for Rutgers were senior Dominick Munson (32:18.0) and sophomore Billy Hill (32:27.0).

“Based on the results from last year, it looks like our team get better with the increase in distance," Walsh said. "So it’s just about getting all our guys ready to compete."

In this year's tournament the Tigers, the Midshipmen, the Wildcats along with most of the teams who competed in 2017 will be returning. One school that is registered who did not compete last year is Maryland-Eastern Shore.

The Knights are currently preparing for the upcoming meet with harder workouts. The race will be longer than the previous races throughout the season, expanding from an 8k course to a 10k course. 

“We didn’t do as well as we hoped at the Big Ten, but we’re not letting that stop us from doing well at regionals," Pschunder said. "We have been training so hard and are really fit, even though the results haven’t proven that yet."

Rutgers' goal for Friday is to break its record from two years ago as top 10 within the region. As a senior, this will be Murphy’s last big race with the team and he is hoping to end it with one last great performance.

“Individually, I hope to finish within the top 50 individuals again, and overall do whatever I can to help the team,” Murphy said.

The Knights will be heading to Penn State early this Friday in preparation for the meet.

For updates on the men's cross country team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Cailee Oliver

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