The NCAA Mideast Regional was held at an airport in western Pennsylvania
an appropriate location for the Muhlenberg mens cross country team,
took off in 2006 and landed in the top 30 in Division III.
The Mules tied program bests by finishing second at the Centennial
Conference Championships and fourth at the Mideast Regional. They earned
their first bid to the NCAA Division III Championships, placing 29th in a
field of 32.
Rothwell finished in the top half of the NCAA field,
coming in 138th out of 279 runners.
The Muhlenberg women finished 10th out of 41 teams at the NCAA Mideast
Regional, two places away from their best showing ever.
With their top eight consisting of five seniors and three sophomores, the
men had the perfect blend of experience and youth to snap their streak of
three straight fourth-place finishes at the CC Championships. The Mules
gave an indication that things might be different when they finished only
two points behind 2005 CC runner-up Dickinson in their second meet of the
season, the Waynesburg Invitational.
More impressive performances followed: second out of 25 teams at the Paul
Short Invitational and first out of 20 teams at the DeSales Invitational
the first win in program history in a large (20 or more teams)
invitational. Senior Lex Mercado led a contingent of three
runners in the top 10 at Paul Short, then won the DeSales Invitational by
more than 14 seconds.
Mercado alternated with two other seniors, Tim Seeley and
Rothwell, for the team lead. Seeley had the best race of his career at
CC Championships, finishing fourth to tie for the second-best showing by a
Mule runner at the meet. Mercado (seventh) and Rothwell (eighth) also
finished in the top 10 as Muhlenberg scored 56 points, by third-fewest by
a team other than Haverford in the 14-year history of the meet.
Gearins best finish was 11th at the DeSales
Rothwell took top honors at the regional, coming in 23rd to join Seeley
(30th) and sophomores David Chorney (27th) and Timothy Van
in the top 35. The Mules gap of 41 seconds between their first and
runners was the best in the meet.
Muhlenberg was rewarded with one of 16 at-large berths to the NCAA
Championships. Entering the national meet ranked 33rd in the Division III
coaches poll, the Mules finished ahead of three other invited teams.
The women lined up a young team that featured three juniors, three
sophomores and a freshman in the top seven. Junior Sara Gearin,
to the squad after playing soccer in 2005, was the Mules top finisher
all but one of her races, followed by much-improved sophomore Laura
The women landed in the top 10 at the regional by one point over a
Gettysburg team that had beaten them by 10 points at the CC Championships
two weeks earlier.