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NEW YORK - The No. 20 Columbia men's cross-country team will
compete on the biggest stage on Saturday, Nov. 17 at the 2012 NCAA Division I
Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Ky.
The 75th annual men's cross country NCAA National
Championships will be hosted by Louisville at the E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer
State Park. The men's 10k-race will start at approximately 1:18 p.m.,
following the women's race that begins at noon.
Thirty-one teams were selected to participate in each
championship. The top two, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each
of the nine regions for a total of 18 teams. An additional 13 teams were
"We feel like we are in a better position to run that we
have the entire year. We have seven guys who are at their very best in terms of
fitness, we are coming off a phenomenal race at regionals, and I think
everybody is ready to run better than they have all year, " said Head Coach of
Cross Country, Willy Wood.
On Friday, Nov. 9 the men's cross country team made program
history at the Northeast Regional, placing four runners in the top-15 to capture
an automatic bid to the NCAA National Champions with a second-place finish. The
72-point total was enough to edge regional rankings leader No. 14 Syracuse by
The Lions were led by USTFCCCA All-Region honorees, junior
Jake Sienko (seventh-place, 30:29.4), seniors Mark Feigen (11th, 30:32.2),
seniors Mike Murphy (12th, 30:34.8) and Leighton Spencer (15th, 30:36.2) in
Columbia is no stranger to the Louisville course as they
competed in the Louisville Pre-National Classic race earlier this season. The
Lions defeated schools like Michigan State and Georgia who are in the field on
Featured Article: Men's Cross Country Takes Second At Louisville
This marks the second time in school history the men's team
heads to the National Championships. Last season, Columbia received an at-large the 2011
NCAA National Championships and placed 27th with a team score of 591
in the teams first ever appearance.
Murphy clocked in at 30:59.2 to take 125th-place, Sienko
(175th, 31:28.3) and Spencer (176th, 31:28.4) in Terre Haute, Ind.
"Our goal last year was to make National's and see what we
can do, but this year it was past that. We were making nationals but wanted to
run well and place top-20," said first-team All-Ivy League honoree Leighton