Panther cross-country teams earn NCAA bids

WATERFORD, Conn. — The Middlebury men’s and women’s cross country teams both finished second in their respective NCAA Regional meets held on Saturday in Waterford, Conn., results good enough for each Panther team to earn at-large invitations to this Saturday’s NCAA Division III Championship Meet in Louisville, Ky.

The winners of each of 10 regional meets earned automatic bids into Saturday’s championship event, and another 22 men’s and women’s teams, including the Panthers, also received invitations.

The 12th-ranked Middlebury men were second out of 26 teams at this past Saturday’s regional. Top-ranked Williams won the event with a score of 54, followed by the Panthers (68), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (82), Vassar (121) and Amherst (129).

Alexander Kessler led Middlebury, placing seventh in a field of 174 runners. He covered the 8-kilometer course in 25:14. Drew Donahue (25:27), Alec Gironda (25:29) and Max Cluss (25:32) finishing 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively. Quinlan McGaugh rounded out the scorers for the Panthers in 25th in 25:51.

The 15th-ranked Middlebury women’s cross country team edged Amherst by three points to claim second place. Sixth-ranked Williams took home top honors with 90 points, followed by the Panthers (99), the Mammoths (102), Smith (134) and Mount Holyoke (139).

Middlebury’s Cassie Kearney finished second in a field of 172 runners. She completed the 6K course in 21:46. Bea Parr (22:44) finished 16th in 22:44. Kate Kenny (21st) and Morgane Orcutt (26th) finished in 22:51 and 23:08, respectively, and Nicole Johnson (23:26) was 34th as the final scorer for Middlebury.

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