SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's and women's cross country teams take to the course at Newville, Pennsylvania on Saturday, November 14 for the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Championships, hosted by Dickinson College.
How we got here
Salisbury competed through an abbreviated schedule in 2015 due to weather. The Sea Gulls planned for an alternating schedule with events every other week. When Hurricane Joaquin came up the East Coast, it adjusted the Sea Gulls' schedule, forcing the cancellation of the Don Cathcart Invitational – annually Salisbury's second home meet.
Salisbury in the NCAA regionals
Last year, the Sea Gull men placed 10th at the Mideast Regional, while the women finished 24th. The 2014 regional was run on the same course as Saturday's event. Salisbury has had 28 student-athletes named to the all-region team since 1995. Most recently, Thomas Burke earned the honor last season, with his 29th-place finish. Kelly Sullivan, in 2007, was the last woman to pick up the honor for Salisbury.
Last time out
Two weeks ago, the Sea Gulls ran in the Capital Athletic Conference championships, with the men placing third and the women taking fourth. The Sea Gull men had two of the top-eight finishers, with sophomore Malcolm Milton and junior Connor Hesselbirg finishing seventh and eighth, respectively. The pair earned first-team All-CAC accolades for their performance. The women saw two All-CAC performances with freshman Jamie Farley and senior Laura Hartman being named to the second team, as they finished 16th and 17th, respectively.
Leading the men
Hesselbirg was Salisbury's top finisher in each of the team's three regular-season meets, and was just behind Milton in the CAC championships. Hesselbirg's top finish was placing second in the St. Mary's Invitational.
Coming on strong
Farley was Salisbury's fourth finisher in the first meet of the year before being the Sea Gulls' third runner across the line in the team's second meet. But she has made improvements to lead the team across the finish line in each of their last two races, including her first collegiate run under 24 minutes at the CAC championships.
Making his impact
Freshman Billy Kirk has made a splash in his first year, finishing as one of the team's top-three finishers in all four meets this season. At the CAC championships, he placed 12th, to earn second-team all-conference honors, but was also the first freshman to cross the line, picking up the CAC Rookie of the Year award. He's the sixth men's runner, and first since 2010, to pick up the recognition.
Salisbury will look to have the team or individuals qualify for next week's NCAA Division III National Championships, which will be held in Winneconne, Wisconsin, on Saturday, November 21.