GORHAM, Maine -- The NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Cross Country New England Regional Championships come back to Gorham, Maine, for the first time since 2013 this Saturday (November 11) when the University of Southern Maine hosts the annual event at the Gorham Country Club.
The men's race is slated to start at 11:00 a.m. and will cover 8,000 meters. The women's race is scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m. and will cover 6,000 meters. The top two teams from each race will receive the New England region's two automatic qualifying spots for the NCAA Division III National Championship race on November 18 at the North Farm Cross Country Facility in Elsah, Illinois, hosted by Principia College.
The top two finishing teams from each of the eight regions (16 teams) will earn automatic berths to the National Championship. Other top finishing teams from each region will vie for at-large bids into the 32-team field that will be announced Sunday afternoon. The top seven individuals in each region from non-qualifying teams will also make the national championship field.
The women's field features seven teams that are ranked among the top 35 in the November 1 USTFCCCA (United State Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) Division III poll. Second-ranked M.I.T. leads the parade of nationally-ranked teams, followed closely by Williams College in fourth place and Middlebury College in eighth. All three teams have been ranked among the top ten all season long.
Tufts University (13th), Bates College (16th), W.P.I. (31st) and Amherst College (35th) are also among the top 35 in the national poll. Other regionally-ranked teams include Bowdoin College, Brandeis University and Wesleyan University.
Among the conference champions competing will be Eastern Connecticut State University (Little East Conference), the University of New England (Commonwealth Coast Conference), Norwich University (Great Northeast Athletic Conference), Westfield State University (MASCAC), Lesley University (Northeast Collegiate Conference), Williams (New England Small College Athletic Conference), M.I.T. (New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference), and Colby-Sawyer College (North Atlantic Conference).
M.I.T. won last year's women's regional title scoring 68 points. Williams placed second with 71 points, followed by Tufts with 77, Middlebury with 149 and Bates with 167. Last year's individual champion, Tufts University senior Brittany Bowman (Camden, Maine/Camden Hills), returns to defend her regional title.
This year's men's race includes six teams that are ranked among the top 35 in the USTFCCCA Division III poll. Amherst College leads the nationally-ranked teams slotting in at number six, followed by M.I.T. in 10th place.
Middlebury College (15th), Bates College (21st), Williams College (29th) and Connecticut College (33rd) are also in the November 1 USTFCCCA poll. Other strong teams in the region include Brandeis University, Tufts University, Bowdoin College and W.P.I.
Conference champions expected to participate include the University of Southern Maine (Little East Conference), Wentworth Institute of Technology (Commonwealth Coast Conference), Norwich University (Great Northeast Athletic Conference), Fitchburg State University (MASCAC), Southern Vermont College (Northeast Collegiate Conference), Amherst (New England Small College Athletic Conference), M.I.T. (New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference), and Colby-Sawyer College (North Atlantic Conference).
The M.I.T. men won last year's regional championship on the tiebreaker after tying with Williams College. Both squads compiled 110 points. Amherst College was third with 141 points, followed by Middlebury with153 and Tufts with 159. M.I.T. junior Dennis Maloney (New Albany, Ohio), who placed fourth at last year's race, is the top returning finisher.