09 Dec 2021 | 10:33 | Cross Country
VILLANOVA, Pa.—A chance to earn a berth to the NCAA Championships will be on the line when the men’s cross country team competes in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional on Friday afternoon. This year’s regional meet is being hosted by Lehigh on the Goodman Campus Course where the men’s 10,000 race will get underway at 1 p.m. The race will be preceded by the women’s 6,000 meter race at 12 p.m. and an awards ceremony to recognize the top teams and individual performers will take place inside Goodman Stadium immediately following the conclusion of the men’s race.
Friday’s NCAA regional is open to the public and fans can purchase tickets on site when arriving to the Lehigh campus. Admission is $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for children and students. There is also a spectator parking fee of $5.00. All fees will be collected at the parking booths. Cash and credit cards are accepted. There are no advance sales for the meet. Fans who are unable to attend the meet can follow along with live results via the link in this release and can also stay up to date on where Villanova stands by following the Wildcats on Twitter (@NovaTrackXC). Please be aware that live tweets may be delayed depending on weather conditions at the meet.
The men’s race steps up in distance to 10,000 meters for the NCAA meets after teams primarily race at 8,000 meters during the season. Villanova is coming off a third place finish at the BIG EAST Championships where five Wildcats finished in the top 20 and earned all-conference honors. Senior Haftu Strintzos (Melbourne, Australia) led the way with a runner-up finish at the conference meet and garnered first team All-BIG EAST honors for the third straight season. Redshirt freshman Jack Jennings (Mendham, N.J.) was also a first team All-BIG EAST honoree after a 10th place finish. The other runners to earn all-conference recognition were senior Charlie O’Donovan (Cork, Ireland), graduate student Justin Weber (South Milwaukee, Wis.) and graduate student Ryan Cutter (El Sobrante, Calif.).
Villanova enters the regional meet ranked third behind Princeton and Georgetown in the most recent Mid-Atlantic poll released by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The top two teams at each of nine regionals around the country earn automatic bids to the NCAA Championships on November 20 in Tallahassee, Fla., while 13 other teams will be chosen for at-large berths based on their overall competition throughout the 2021 season. The top 25 individual finishers from the regional meets will earn All-Region accolades from the USTFCCCA.
During the last full cross country season in 2019 the Wildcats won the team title at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. That year’s regional meet was also held at Lehigh and Villanova won its sixth regional title since 2001 and first since 2014. The current system of regional meets has been in place since the 2000 season and prior to that the Wildcats were the team champion at the NCAA District II Championships three times between 1983 and 1996. Villanova has earned a total of 85 Mid-Atlantic All-Region honors under the current format.
The field of teams and individuals for the NCAA Championships will be announced via a live selection show that airs Saturday, November 13 at 5 p.m. Eastern time on NCAA.com. A link to the show will be on the front page of NCAA.com on Saturday afternoon. The NCAA Championships are hosted by Florida State and will take place at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday, November 20.