WASHINGTON - The American University men's cross country team broke into the top ten of the Mid-Atlantic Regional rankings this week, coming in at No. 9 after placing sixth as a team at the Princeton Invitational on Saturday.
The Eagles made their season debut in the USTFCCCA (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) weekly release last week at No. 11 before a win over No. 9 St. Joseph's at Princeton bumped them up another couple of notches this week. This is the first time AU has broken into the top ten since 2013, when the team opened at No. 4 in the preseason release.
The men were led by senior Alaeldin Tirba, who took the reins for the Eagles for the first time this season with a new personal record (PR) of 24:14.60 for seventh in the field. Juniors Matthew Rainey and Ben Doiron, who have gone back-and-forth at the lead of the AU pack this season, were second and third for the team, respectively. Senior Liam Purdy (24:50.30) and junior Tommy Sommer (25:13.40) rounded out the AU scorers with a pair of PR's.
The women's team also maintained a spot in the rankings, dropping one spot to No. 14 after placing tenth at Princeton. Last week's No. 13 ranking was the first time the Eagles have appeared in the Mid-Atlantic rankings since 2013, when they peaked at No. 11.
Junior Adriana Hooks continues to lead the women's squad after a 13th place overall finish at Princeton. The Eagles have shown some depth in the remaining scoring spots, with freshmen Nadia Stratton and Shelbi Wuss, sophomore Arianna Lopez, junior Kassidy Ayres and senior Brianna Belo all earning points for the team throughout the four-meet regular season.
American now looks toward the postseason, as they rest this weekend before heading to Bethlehem, Pa., for the Patriot League Championships on Saturday, Oct. 28. For the latest on AU, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_TrackXC.