MADISON,Conn. - On Friday, Nov. 9 the Columbia men's cross country team made program history at the 2012 NCAA Northeast Regionals in Madison, Conn. The Lions placed four runners in the top 15 for a team total of 72 points to capture second place and an automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Cross Country National Championships. The 72 point total was enough to edge regional rankings leader No. 2 Syracuse by one point to earn the automatic bid. Iona took first place, with 45 points, along with the individual meet winner Micah Goose.
Leading the pace for the Lions with a seventh place finish was junior Jake Sienko. With a time of 30:29.4, the All-Ivy League honoree continued his solid performance this season. Senior Mark Feigen also crossed the line in a strong 11th place at 30:32.2. Just steps behind were fellow seniors Mike Murphy (12th, 30:34.8) and Leighton Spencer (15th,30:36.2). Following the leadership of the upperclassmen, sophomore Daniel Everett (27th, 31:06.9) showed well with a top 30 finish.
"I couldn't be more pleased with our performance today," said Head Coach of Cross Country/Track and Field Willy Wood. "To automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships legitimizes our program as one of the Nation's best."
The women's team started off the day with a top 10 finish in a field of 37 teams placing ninth overall. Enduring a season that received tough blows due to injury, including last year's All-American Waverly Neer and senior Caroline McDonough , the Lions ran a tough race lead by seniors Erin Gillingham and Clare Buck. Gillingham placed 24th overall with a time of 20:42.0 and Buck followed in 33rd place with a time of 20:50.9.