NEW YORK - On Saturday, the Columbia men's and women's cross country teams will look to build off of their impressive showings at last month's 2011 Ivy League Cross Country Heptagonal Championships when they head to Amherst, N.Y., to compete in the 2011 NCAA Division I Northeast Regional at Audubon Golf Course.
The 39-team men's 10K call time is at 11:45 a.m, and the race starts at noon. The Columbia men will start in the 12th box. The 40-team women's 6K features a 1 p.m. call time with a 1:15 start. The Lions' women will start in the 25th box.
The top two teams from each of the nine regionals (18 teams total) automatically qualify for the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships. The NCAA Division I track and field subcommittee also selects 13 at-large teams. The first four individuals who are not on automatic qualifying teams (teams that finished in the top two at a regional) and who finished in the top 25 will automatically qualify for the NCAA championship meet. The NCAA Division I track and field subcommittee will also select two at-large individuals who finished in the top 25 of their regional meets.
The No. 22 Columbia men's cross country team is coming off a strong second-place finish in the 2011 Heps on Oct. 29 at Princeton's West Windsor Fields. Senior Kyle Merber placed second in the men's 8K race and earned First Team All-Ivy League honors. Junior Mike Murphy, sophomore Nico Composto and junior Ben Veilleux garnered Second Team All-Ivy accolades. The Lions, who finished ahead of a slew of ranked teams in the Paul Short Run Presented by Brooks and the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational, have positioned themselves well to be in consideration for an at-large bid.
The Columbia women, who are technically ranked 32nd in the latest USTFCCCA poll with 14 votes, are also looking to continue building momentum off their second-place showing in the 2011 Heps. First-year Waverly Neer finished second in the women's 6K and, along with junior Caroline McDonough, earned First Team All-Ivy League honors. Junior Clare Buck received Second Team All-Ivy distinction.