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The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

Solid NCAA bouts conclude cross country seasons

Photo courtesy of ionagaels.com
The men’s team won their first regional title since 2012 on Nov. 10.

The Iona University men’s and women’s cross-country teams finished their 2023 seasons after completing action at three National Collegiate Athletic Association events.  

The women’s team kicked things off at the 2023 NCAA Northeast Regional Championship in Riverdale, N.Y. on Nov. 10.  

The women were riding high after their second place finish at the MAAC Championship two weeks earlier, on Oct. 28. 

Seven Gaels participated in the event, including sophomore Tayla Gunton, who won the MAAC Outstanding Player award at the aforementioned MAAC Championship. Gunton was Iona’s second finisher on the day, sporting a time of 21:18.8 in 77th place.  

It was senior Holly Smith who led the way for Iona, as she landed just outside the top-20, in 23rd place, thanks to a 20:28.9 mark in the 6k course. Smith’s strong numbers led to her receiving All-Region honors.  

Two more Gaels, rookie Claragh Keane and graduate student Madison Klein, tabbed top-100 spots, ending up in 89th and 93rd place, respectively. Three other Maroon and Gold runners participated as well, bringing the team’s point total to 403, good for second among MAAC teams, behind ninth place Quinnipiac University.  

Iona found themselves in 15th place out of 37 schools at the end of the afternoon and nearly 100 points ahead of their closest opponent, Brown University.  

Soon after the women’s squad wrapped up, Iona’s men’s team hit the track for their own NCAA Northeast Regional Championship at Van Cortlandt Park on Nov. 10.  

All five of the Gaels’ scorers captured top-15 spots, allowing the program to secure a first place finish with 40 points and upset No. 8 Syracuse University and No. 15 Harvard University in the process.  

Harvard’s Graham Blanks was the event’s individual top-performer, but Iona’s own Damien Dilcher and Joshua DeSouza were not far behind, seizing second and third place.  

Graduate student Lachlan Wellington held a time of 29:55.4 in tenth place, while Nick Soldevere and Matt Rankin rounded out the top-15.  

 Like Smith on the women’s side, Dilcher, DeSouza, Wellington, Soldevere and Rankin achieved All-Region honors and are eligible to be added to the USTFCCCA All-Academic list announced in January.  

The men’s team then travelled to Panorama Farms in Charlottesville, V.A., for the 2023 NCAA Championship on Nov. 18. 

Iona’s cross country program struggled to get going, with their highest-ranking performer, DeSouza, finishing in 91st place in 30:28.9. Wellington scored just outside the top-100 in 103rd, and Dilcher, Soldevere and DeSouza followed shortly thereafter.  

Overall, the Iona men’s team capped off their last cross country affair of the season in 29th place out of 30 teams.  

The 2023-24 winter indoor track season began on Dec. 1, as Iona’s program competed in the Rutgers Holiday Classic at the Armory Track & Field Center.

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Robert Hughes, Sports Editor

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