Seahawk Harriers Head To Louisville For Regionals
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, N.C. - Members of the UNC Wilmington men's and women's cross country teams head to the Bluegrass State on Saturday to compete in the NCAA Southeast Regionals at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville.
Racing in one of the toughest regions, UNCW will be going up against top NCAA Division I schools from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky. The Seahawks will have an uphill battle racing against nationally ranked programs like UNC Chapel Hill, Duke, Louisville, and fellow CAA rival William and Mary.
The 45-team field will be fighting for the top two positions, which automatically qualify for the national meet. In addition, 13 at large bids will be selected by a track and field subcommittee.
"A number of teams should get an at large bid from the Southeast Regional because it's one of the toughest regions," said Layne Schwier, UNCW's assistant cross country/track and field coach.
The Seahawks finished in the middle of the field last year and will try to move up this year. "If our girls run well we can finish in the top 20," added Schwier.
The Seahawks will also be trying to finish in the top 10 among North Carolina schools after placing 13th among state teams last year and beating rivals East Carolina and Appalachian State.
Good racing weather is expected for the Louisville area and the course is conducive to good times.
"The park will be fairly flat and easier for the team," Schwier said. "This should help our team record some faster times then we saw in the CAA meet two weeks ago.
In the CAA Championships, the men finished seventh and the women's team placed sixth in what coach Schwier described as a "bittersweet meet."
The women's team ran well, but fell short of expectations in the tightly packed CAA field. Only 21 points separated the Seahawks from third place George Mason.
Eight women and two members of the men's team will make the trip this weekend. Seniors Kathleen Casto, Bernadette O'Neill, and Samantha Mifsud will be joined by Lauren Mohr, Lauren Wells, Christina Borowiec, Lily Patterson, and alternate Erin Brennan.
Casto and O'Neill have been the anchors for the Seahawks finishing first and second in every meet this year. Mifsud has climbed back into top of the pack after recovering from an early season ankle injury.
"If Kathleen runs well enough she can earn Academic All-American honors," he said. "She has the grades. It's just a matter of how well she does in this meet. Kathleen is a determined runner. Earning Academic All-American honors was a preseason goal for her."
Sophomore Wil Zahorodny, UNCW's top runner in every meet for the men this year, and much-improved Cam Shaver will represent the men. Each will run individually in the men's race and will run a 10K for the first time this year.