TOWSON, Md. --- The 2016-17 season marks the 10th year anniversary for the Landmark Conference. As part of the buildup to each sport's championship season, fans were asked to select their favorite moment from the first decade from a list created by members of the conference. Each winning moment will be announced prior to the conference championship.
The Moravian College men's and women's cross country teams swept the top moments for their 2011 championships in the snow as the Greyhounds hosted the meet on the Goodman Campus of Lehigh University. Moravian will be hosting its first conference meet since those races this Saturday, October 29 at Bicentennial Park in Northampton with the men running at 11:00 a.m. and the women to follow at noon.
The Moravian women's team captured its first Landmark Conference title at the 2011 meet under four inches of snow. Senior Cadee Rockwell, who was named to the Landmark Conference All-Decade Team, won the 6,000-meter race in a time of 24:12.00 to earn Landmark Conference Runner of the Year honors, Landmark All-Conference First Team accolades and help the program win its first conference championship since 2002.
Senior Kristina Ruggiero finished in second place in 24:38.30 and freshman Claire DelCasale took seventh place in a time of 25:17.70 as both runners earned All-Conference First Team accolades. Freshman Emily Lambright placed 11th in 25:39.30 to garner All-Conference Second Team Honors while classmate Devon Bedell finished in 22nd place with a time of 26:37.90.
Freshman Jessie Goldberg took 26th place in 26:47.00 while senior Megan Hallowell finished in 30th in a time of 26:55.60. Junior Emma Pacheco took 34th in the race with a time of 27:02.60. Sophomore Jennifer Smilgis took 38th in 27:16.00 and classmate Jennifer Parodi finished in 40th at 27:30.11. Freshman Alyssa Tallon took 50th in 28:41.80 while sophomore Amanda Smilgis took 54th with a 29:14.10 to round out the Moravian runners.
"We had hoped all week that the unseasonable warmth leading up to Saturday would have kept the snow from accumulating, but when it started to stick by 8:00 a.m., I knew we were out of luck," said Head Coach Jesse Baumann. "By race time there were about four inches on the ground and not only could you not see the course aside from the tracks made by the lead vehicle, you could hardly see anyway with the wind blowing sleet and snow in your eyes.
"Although the weather was obviously the focal point, our women's team wound up running well," continued Baumann. "In conditions like that it's extremely difficult to stay focused on the race, but we were fortunate to have some excellent senior leadership with Cadee, Kristina and Meg that year, coupled with a very talented freshman class. It was still an extremely tight race with Goucher, but we managed to pull out a narrow victory that we'll never forget."
On the men's side, the Greyhounds won their first Landmark Conference title at the 2011 championship meet. The race was shortened from its scheduled 8,000-meters due to a tree falling from the heavy wet snow and blocking a portion course. By the time the men's race began at 2:00 p.m., there were nearly four inches of snow on the course. It was the first conference Championship the Moravian men's cross country team has won since 1998.
Senior Matthew Lutcza, who was named to the Landmark Conference All-Decade Team, led the way for the Greyhounds and took second place with a 24:24.80 to earn Landmark All-Conference First Team honors. Junior Donnie Noble took fourth place with a time of 24:48.10 while freshman Alec Duncan finished sixth with a time of 25:08.70 and was named the Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year. Both Noble and Duncan earned spots on the Landmark All-Conference First Team as well.
Junior Dylan Marton took tenth with a time of 25:31.70 to earn a spot on the Landmark All-Conference Second Team while freshman Dillon Farrell, who was named to the Landmark Conference All-Decade Team, finished in 16th place with a time of 26:21.70. Freshman Corey Schauerman took 48th with a time of 27:52.40 while classmate Eddie Garcia finished in 70th with a time of 29:12.60.
"We thought the conditions were bad with the women, but then in the men's race we actually had a tree fall down while the race was going on, and we had to re-route the course mid-race," stated Baumann. "To this day I don't know the distance of the course we ran. We had one of our top runners late to the start due in part to the weather so it felt like Murphy's Law. However, everyone had to deal with the circumstances and like with our women's team we had some good upperclassmen leadership, in particular with Matt, Donnie and Dylan, who kept our team focused and helped us pull off the sweep.
"The whole weekend felt chaotic with uncertainty about whether to even have the meet and hardly being able to see while on the course. We were hearing reports of road closures and power outages so we had to cut the awards short to get teams on the road. It was just a bizarre weekend that few of us will ever forget," finished Baumann.
The eight Landmark Conference schools will compete in the 10th Landmark Conference Championship meet on Saturday, October 29 as the Greyhounds host the races at Bicentennial Park on the borders of Bethlehem and Northampton beginning at 11:00 a.m. for the men and noon for the women. Follow the Landmark Conference Championships at http://moraviansports.com/sports/mxc/2016-17/LandmarkChamp/index.