WASHINGTON – The American University cross country teams are back up in Bethlehem, Pa., for the second time this season, as they kick off the postseason on Saturday with the Patriot League Championships at Lehigh.
ABOUT THE MEET
Events at the Goodman Campus Cross Country Course will begin at 11 a.m. with the men's 8,000-meter race, followed by the women's 6,000-meter race at noon.
The Eagles return to the PL Championship meet after placing sixth (men) and seventh (women) last season. AU has won eight team titles since entering the Patriot League in 2001, including six consecutive championships on the men's side from 2002-07. The women also earned back-to-back titles in 2002-03.
Saturday's meet will also pit the Eagles against three fellow-NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional teams with Navy, Bucknell and Lehigh. The AU men currently rank ninth in the region behind Navy (fourth) and Bucknell (seventh), and ahead of Lehigh (tenth). The women also landed in the top 15 of the latest regional rankings, coming in at 14th behind Bucknell (eighth), Navy (ninth) and Lehigh (11th).
The Eagles return to Lehigh's course on Friday, Nov. 10, for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships to fight for qualification into the NCAA Championship meet.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
The Eagles have already seen a lot of success on Lehigh's course earlier this season, as five men and seven women earned new personal records (PR's) during the Paul Short Run in September.
All eight men slated to take the line on Saturday have earned PR's this season, including five who earned new bests during the Princeton Invitational two weeks ago. Leading that group is senior Alaeldin Tirba, who paced AU with a seventh-place overall finish at Princeton in 24:14.60.
Tirba is one of three Eagles who have taken the reins for AU throughout the season. Junior Ben Doiron led the AU men twice this year, including at the Paul Short Run, and sophomore Matthew Rainey has paced the team once. Doiron enters the weekend with a PR of 24:26.80 from the Princeton Invitational, while Rainey's PR of 24:36.60 is from the Paul Short Run.
On the women's side, junior Adriana Hooks will look to continue leading the AU pack, having paced the team throughout the season. Hooks is one of seven women to have PR'd on Lehigh's course earlier this season when she led the team with a 21:14.60 crossing during the Paul Short Run.
The women's team has shown some positive depth throughout the season, with five student-athletes rotating through the remaining four scoring positions. Included among that group is a pair of freshmen in Nadia Stratton and Shelbi Wuss. Also earning points for the team this year has been junior Kassidy Ayres, senior Brianna Belo, and sophomore Arianna Lopez.
For the latest on AU Cross Country, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_TrackXC.