WASHINGTON – The championship portion of the season has set in for American University cross country, as the teams head to Easton, Pa., for the Patriot League Championships. Hosted by Lafayette College at the Metzger Athletic Complex, Saturday's events will kick off at 11 a.m. with the women's 6,000m race, followed by the men's 8,000m at noon.
The Eagles return to the PL Championship meet after placing fifth on the men's side and sixth on the women's in 2015. The men entered the 2016 season with a sixth-place preseason ranking, while the women were voted seventh in the league.
Joining AU on the line are five fellow-Mid-Atlantic Regional teams, who the Eagles will see again in a couple weeks at the NCAA Regional Championships.
Mid-Atlantic Regional Competitors (current ranking as of Oct. 17 – Men // Women)
Bucknell ( 13th // 5th), Lafayette, Lehigh ( 11th // 11th), Loyola Maryland, and Navy ( 3rd // 13th)
The women will take to the line first on Saturday, with sophomore Adriana Hooks looking to lead the charge for the fourth time this season. Hooks has guided the team in each of her meets this season, including at the Princeton Invitational two weeks ago where she clocked a new personal best for 6,000m to take 19th in the field (21:58.20).
On the men's side, there are a couple of potential leaders for the Eagles, as sophomore Matthew Rainey and junior Alaeldin Tirba have both crossed first for AU this season. Rainey took the reins during the Princeton Invitational, crossing with a new 8,000m personal best of 25:02.0. Tirba was not too far behind, also hitting a new best over 8,000m (25:07.50).
In fact, four of the six men set to don the red, white and blue on Saturday are coming off of PR performances, as junior Liam Purdy and sophomore Tommy Sommer also had their best career times at Princeton.
Rounding out the roster for the men will be freshman Gerard D'Ambrosio III and sophomore Ben Doiron.
For the latest on your Eagles, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_TrackXC.