PITTSBURGH, Pa. - - Running on the final day of the NCAA Division II season is what every student-athlete strives to accomplish when the first day of preseason begins. Wilmington University cross country senior Mark Corrigan accomplished that goal and finished 144th overall at the NCAA Division II National Championship in Schenly Park on Saturday morning.
Competing against 261 runners on a muddy, sloppy, and hilly course in Pittsburgh, the senior ran the 10K race in 35:09.4 to finish 144th overall. It is the third best finish in a National Championship race in Wilmington men's cross country history, trailing Richie Mitten's 115th place finish and Jesus Amezquita's 134th place finish at the 2013 National Championship.
The event started at 11:00 a.m., but only got about 100 yards into the race before being called back for a second start. Once started, again, the conditions began to show as a spill in the middle of the pack within the first mile caused a stir to start the race. Then all 261 runners were forced into a bottleneck section, again slowing the pace and setting the stage for the rest of the event.
Corrigan was in 102nd at the second split, getting to the 1.7K mark in 5:36.9. Halfway though the race, Corrigan slipped to 135th overall, reaching the 4.8K split in 16:33.2. The senior hung around the 135th place slot through the 7.8K split, and finished the 10K even in 35:09.4 and in 144th place.
CSU-Pueblo senior Marcelo Laguera won the individual National Championship with a time of 31:46.4, nearly seven seconds ahead of Grand Valley State's Zach Panning who finished runner-up for the second year in a row. But Panning helped lead his Grand Valley State team to a National Championship, as the Lakers scored 89 points to defeat Colorado Mines by 10 points. Western Colorado rounded out the team podium in third place with 117 points.
In the women's 6K event, Grand Valley State's Sarah Berger won the individual National Championship with a time of 22:07.7, beating the field by nearly five seconds. She helped lead her Grand Valley State team to a National Championship as well with 41 points. The University of Mary finished second overall with 83 points while Adams State finished third with 90 points.
Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference mate Kendall Fitzgerald (Post University) finished 50th overall in the women's event with a time of 23:45.4.