2019 DIII NCAA XC Recap: Pomona-Pitzer Stuns North Central

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Upsets in the men’s individual and team races unfolded at the 2019 DIII NCAA XC Championships in Louisville as Patrick Watson of Stevenson won the 8k race in 24:13 while Pomona-Pitzer unseated three-time defending champion North Central to win their first cross country national title.

Watson, who was 15th at NCAAs last year, broke away from a pack of contenders shortly before 5k and was never tested again as he scored a six-second win over runner-up Matthew Wilkinson of Carleton.

“I was feeling good going up the hill and I could hear the guys breathing around me and they looked like they were hurting a little bit,” said Watson. “And I was like, if I'm going to make a move it might as well be now. I might as well go hard and try to get a gap on everybody.”

For Stevenson, it was their first individual national title across any sport in school history.

Behind Watson, the Sagehens from Pomona-Pitzer were making history of their own with a brilliant team race.

The West region champions were only seventh at NCAAs in 2018 and they lost their No. 1 runner to graduation, but the ‘Hens used dramatic improvements from a pair of sophomores— Ethan Widlansky and Dante Paszkeicz— to unseat the mighty North Central 164-182 for their program’s first ever national title.

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Widlansky, 192nd at NCAAs last year, finished seventh on Saturday, while Paszkeicz went from 118th to 16th in the same span. Against an NCC team that wasn’t nearly as strong as a year ago when they won nationals by 67 points, Pomona-Pitzer’s big day was good enough to score the colossal upset.

Not only was their victory a remarkable turnaround from last year, but Pomona-Pitzer toppled a North Central team on Saturday who beat them by 33 points just over a month ago at the Kollege Town Sports Invitational.

Johns Hopkins Avenges 2018 Loss; Hannan Wins Two-Way Individual Battle

The women’s race touted as a rematch of last year’s epic team duel between Washington U. and Johns Hopkins lived up to the hype as Hopkins earned revenge over the Bears with a 125-138 victory.

A year after Washington slipped past Hopkins by a point, 98-99, the Blue Jays took back the crown by putting three women in the top 25— Sam Levy (17th), Rebecca Grusby (21st) and Ariel Keklak (23rd). Washington still ran well in their title defense, but reigning individual champion Paige Lawler was seventh and the team that had four All-Americans last year had just two this time around.

For the Blue Jays, it was their sixth title in the last eight years. They controlled the race from start to finish as they led at every split.

The individual race quickly developed into a two-woman battle as SUNY Geneseo senior Genny Corcoran hammered the opening kilometer in 3:23 and only Ithaca sophomore Parley Hannan followed.

Corcoran was 20th at NCAAs in 2018 and had beaten Hannan on two previous occasions this season. Hannan, meanwhile, didn’t even qualify for nationals last year after placing 45th in the Atlantic region in 2018. On paper, this was advantage Corcoran.

But the Ithaca sophomore has been a different athlete this season, and especially in her last five races. At the Atlantic regional last Saturday, she handed Corcoran her first loss of the season, and by the 4k split in Louisville she was running away from her more-experienced counterpart.

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A three-second lead at 4k grew substantially in the final two kilometers as Hannan won easily in 20:53. Corcoran settled for second in 21:11.

For the NCAA debutant, Corcoran's fast early pace set up perfectly for her own race plan.

“[Corcoran] allowed me to keep the pace I wanted to. She goes out fast,” said Hannan.

“I don’t really have any expectations when it comes to these races. That’s the beauty of why I love it. It’s my time to forget everything and just go.”

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Leo Daschbach Becomes 11th U.S. Prep To Break 4:00 With 3:59.54

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Is NCAA Track/XC Dying?

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The recent announcements of program cuts to men's cross country at Akron and men's track at Central Michigan have resurfaced a feeling of uncertainty for the future of NCAA cross country and track. Here is a breakdown of where our sport currently stands within the NCAA system.

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Understanding Resting And Maximum Heart Rate

Throughout the past years, business has combined the health and technology industries to create a society where fitness tracking has become a regular pastime. People have become more invested in their health and want fun devices to assist in that. These smartwatches and apps have made it easier than ever to know what your exact heart rate is, how many hours of sleep you get, or how far you run. However, with all the knowledge presented to you, it’s equally important to actually understand what those numbers mean to best achieve all of your fitness goals. A big part of this is knowing the different active and resting heart rate zones. 

Pre-Run And Post-Run Stretches

Stretching before and after your run can add a lot of benefits to your exercise routine. It allows you to warm up your muscles and safely progress into your run and also provides your body time to cool off and continue to activate your muscles. It’s important to set aside a couple of minutes before and after exercising so you can make sure you’re taking proper care of your body. 

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Track and field has been around since the start of the Olympics in Ancient Greece in 776 B.C. It was created alongside religious events and celebrations for the Greek gods where men (no women were allowed) could show off their athletic abilities. From there it spread to the Romans who continued the games until the Christian Emperor Theodosius I banned them in 394 A.D. because of their ties to pagan beliefs. 

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