Women's Cross Country Posts Best Finish; Mayden Headed to Nationals

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Football Wrestling

Nicki Cronin After finishing in 179th place at the NCAA Mideast Regional as a Muhlenberg freshman in 2009, Samantha Mayden was sent to the medical tent to recover. She was in tears, and head coach David Bracetty said to her, “In two years we will be on a plane somewhere going to nationals and laughing about this.”

They can laugh all they want. Two years later, Mayden is indeed headed to nationals after finishing 11th at the 2011 regional meet. She will fly to Wis.-Oshkosh for next Saturday’s meet as the third member of the Mule women’s cross country team to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Mayden led the Muhlenberg women’s team to a seventh-place finish, the best in program history. The Mules William Lowrey were eighth in 1990 (out of 24 teams; this year’s meet had 47 complete teams) and 25th just two years ago.

The Muhlenberg men, missing one of their top runners, came in 18th.

Mayden jumped up to 27th place last year, and her 11th-place finish this year was the third-best by a Mule female at the regional meet. She became the fourth runner in program history to earn all-region honors in back-to-back years.

“I knew back then she had the talent, it was just a matter of getting her fitness to a point where she could race the way she wanted,” said Bracetty.

All the Mule women raced the way they wanted, as a total team effort contributed to their seventh-place showing, even though they were without one of their top five.

Sophomore Nicki Cronin (left), who missed all-region honors by one place last year, finished 33rd to make the all-region team. It was the third time in program history, and the first since 2003, that Muhlenberg had two all-region runners in the same season.

Junior Erica Bash came in 64th, up from 108th last year. Two Mules recovering from injuries, freshman Chelsea Rivenbark and sophomore Ramzy Burns, rounded out a top five that will be back next year.

The men also fielded a young squad, with only one senior in their top seven. For the first time in his career, sophomore Charlie Kline was the first Muhlenberg runner across the finish line, coming in 86th. Senior William Lowrey (right) was seven places back in his last cross country race for the Mules.

This is the seventh straight year the Muhlenberg cross country program has sent at least one runner (male or female) to the NCAA Championships.
Click here for Muhlenberg box score.
Click here for complete women’s results.
Click here for complete men’s results.
Click here for a photo gallery from the meet.