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Bobcats set to defend men’s NEC cross-country crown
Fresh off a second-place finish at the Stony Brook Invitational, the Quinnipiac men’s cross country team is already set on defending the title. The reigning NEC champions will use their strength in numbers to once again reach the promise land. Gone from last year’s squad are all-conference runners Greg Toomey and Andrew Best, as well as standout Tommy Martin, one of the finest long distance runners in the Northeast last season.
The Bobcats have a number of returning harriers to help cushion the loss of the aforementioned trio, along with arguably the most talented freshman class in the NEC.
Alex Grout, Jacob Gurzler, and Phil Roach, all products of Shenendehowa High in Clifton Park, N.Y, will be counted on to lead a strong sophomore class.
Gurzler, last year’s NEC Rookie of the Year, placed fourth overall in the meet. Grout was another one of the league’s top freshmen last year and has entered the season in great shape. Roach, who was out all of last fall with injuries, earned Junior All-American honors this summer, and should emerge as a top finisher.
“Getting Phil (Roach) in is almost like getting another recruit in,” head coach Shawn Green said. “I think Phil can make a really big impact.”
Without question, senior Jeffrey Roginielewicz is the most valuable veteran.
“Jeff had some injury issues during last year, but he’s healthy again and he’s trying to get himself back into shape. He’s our biggest returner and how he does by the end of the year is going to be a big key on how this team does,” Green said.
Greg Brink, an All-NEC senior that placed sixth in the conference meet last season, will once again lead the Bobcats.
Freshman Matt Warren, Terrence Moriarty, and Sam Wood turned many heads after finishing in the top seven in their Bobcat debuts.
Nick Rezendes is another freshman who will take on a big role.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, number one freshman Dan Martin (the younger brother of Tommy) is injured and will miss the season.
The toughest task for the Bobcats will be rivals St. Francis Pa., the NEC pre-season favorite.
However, Green and the Bobcats feel that the Red Flash has a lot of weight on its shoulders as the unanimous No. 1 selection and host of the 2005 conference meet. The Red Flash captured the league title three years in a row before bowing to the Bobcats last season.
“I think the pressure is back onthem (St. Francis PA), and I think our team will respond well to it. I’m really, after this weekend, encouraged about our chances,” Green said. “I was really pleased with the meet, I think we have a lot of depth, I think we’ve got some freshman that are a little bit better than I thought they would be, especially this early (in the season).”
“When it comes down to the NEC meet, it’s a battle between Quinnipiac and St. Francis (Pa.) There will be some other teams that’ll get some individuals in there, and I’m not disrespecting those teams, but it comes down to those two teams. And, when it’s down to two teams I think anything can happen,” Green said.
For the Bobcats, team success is often tantamount to success in the classroom. Last season, the ‘Cats were a National All-Academic program.
“As far as goals for the year go, our number one goal is to be named Academic All-American,” Green, who has produced teams that have continually achieved Academic All-American status, said.