Cross Country 2013 Season Review

 

They took different paths to get there, but the Muhlenberg cross country teams turned in another strong season in 2013.

Nicki Cronin
Cronin became just the third female in program history to earn all-region honors three straight years. Her showing at the NCAA Championships was the third-best ever by a Muhlenberg women's runner.
Both Mule squads captured their own Cedar Crest/Muhlenberg Invitational, finished fifth at the Centennial Conference Championships and placed inside the top 16 among extremely competitive fields at the NCAA Mideast Regional. Their course maps, however, typically read quite differently.

The women stuck to a follow-the-leader approach, with senior co-captain Nicki Cronin playing the role of pace-setter. Cronin finished 20th at the regional meet – which the Mules hosted – to earn all-region honors for the third straight season. That also qualified her for the NCAA Championships, at which Cronin finished 135th in a field of 280 entrants. It was also the ninth straight year that the Mules sent at least one runner to the national championships.

Bobby McGetrick
McGetrick ran in the Mules' top seven his entire career.
Before her strong showing at nationals, Cronin also took gold at the Cedar Crest/Muhlenberg Invitational and placed 19th at the conference meet. The senior was the first Mule across the line at every meet but the Gettysburg Invitational, which she missed to take her GREs.

Leading the way at Gettysburg was sophomore Melanie Tramontina, the Mules’ No. 2 runner. Tramontina finished 27th at the CC meet, an 18-place improvement from her freshman season, and placed 52nd at the regional race, helping the Mules to a 16th-place finish – their 16th top-20 showing in the last 17 years.

Despite dropping a notch from two previous fourth-place finishes at the CC championships, the Muhlenberg women made history by finishing in the top five for the third straight season. The Mules landed behind three teams ranked in the top 20 in Division III – and ahead of Gettysburg, which came in ranked 10th in the region.

Rounding out the Mules’ top seven were sophomore Claire Thornton, junior Chelsea Rivenbark, senior co-captain Ramzy Burns, senior Lauren Zakheim and freshman Hannah Binder.

Thornton (7th), Burns (11th), Rivenbark (13th) and Zakheim (14th) all finished inside the top 15 as Muhlenberg won its home event.

Though the men also had a consistent top runner – junior Luke Munyan – the team used a pack mentality to move up the standings. While Munyan was first across the line at all but two races during the 2013 season, the Mules consistently ran in tight groups. At every meet this season, Muhlenberg’s top seven runners finished within two minutes of each other. That included regionals, at which the men placed 13th – two spots ahead of last year’s showing and their 15th consecutive season in the top 20.

In addition to the Cedar Crest/Muhlenberg Invitational, the Mule men took first place in the 42-team “White” race at Lehigh’s Paul Short Run. It was first time in 13 years that the Mules won two invitationals in the same season.

Like in 2012, Munyan spent the majority of the season at the head of the Mules’ pack. He joined Cronin as gold medalist of the Cedar Crest/Muhlenberg Invitational, at which the team’s top seven were all among the first 10 runners across the line. Munyan took eighth in a field of 281 at the Gettysburg Invitationl, helping the Mules to a fourth-place finish out of 27 teams.

Sophomore Stephen Sroka was just a second behind, taking ninth place in his best performance of the season. Sroka was the second, third or fourth finisher at every meet after running No. 7 as a freshman.

Freshman Jaryd Flank was one of the Mules’ top three runners throughout a stellar rookie campaign. He led the way at the CC championships, finishing 20th to become just the second freshman since 1994 to be the Mules’ top runner at the meet. Flank also landed in the top 20 at Gettysburg.

Senior Bobby McGetrick was the top finisher at regionals, coming in 51st to halve his place from last year’s event. Sroka (61st), Munyan (63rd) and Flank (83rd) all crossed the line within 34 seconds of McGetrick, while senior co-captain Charlie Kline came back from an injury to be the Mules’ fifth finisher at both the conference and regional championships.

Juniors Kenny Wohl and Zach Lifman rounded out Muhlenberg’s top seven. Wohl was fourth overall at the Cedar Crest/Muhlenberg Invitational, while Lifman finished fifth for the team at three different events. Senior co-captain Jarrett Felix and junior Josh Elkan also spent time in the Mules’ pack.