BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College men's cross country team heads to Washington, D.C. Saturday, November 2 in search of their third consecutive Landmark Conference Championship when the 2013 meet kicks off at noon. The Catholic University of America is hosting the eight-kilometer race at the United States Soldiers and Airmen's Home.
The Greyhounds were selected second in the Landmark Preseason Poll despite winning the last two titles, capturing the 2012 title by 15 points and the 2011 race by 11 points, both over Susquehanna University, the preseason favorite this fall.
"It helps that we're not the favorite," stated third-year Head Coach Jesse Baumann. "Susquehanna and Juniata have established themselves as the favorites throughout the season, which certainly helps reduce the pressure on us. The other thing is that we're racing a different style of race on Saturday than we have all year, which I know the team is excited about. To this point in the season, the focus has been attaining certain splits or working on other strategies during the race. The objective now is simple; we look for people (jerseys) to key off of and race them. It's a new challenge to look forward to and switches our focus."
Anchoring the Greyhounds Saturday is defending Landmark Conference Individual Champion junior Dillon Farrell, who broke his own school and Landmark record in his last race at the Princeton University Invitational with a time of 24:35. Farrell has been the Landmark Conference Runner of the Week five times this fall. Farrell won last year's conference race by 43 and a half seconds over Nate Alter from Juniata, who will challenge him on Saturday for the 2013 title.
"We really aren't concerned about times with Dillon," Baumann said. "We've gone to other courses such as Princeton to try to set PRs, and that will be a slightly bigger focus heading into Regionals than on Saturday. All we're concerned with on Saturday is setting him up to give him the best opportunity to contend for first against Nate Alter and Susquehanna's pack. If a great time comes from that, of course we'll be happy, but it'd really only be icing on the cake rather than the focus heading in."
Junior Alec Duncan looks to earn All-Conference honors for the third time in his career after earning First-Team accolades the last two years. After Farrell and Duncan, the Greyhounds will be looking to a young core to win their third title. Freshmen Cory Taggert, Andrew Mitchell and Andrew Reed along with sophomores Maxwell Korten and Jeremy Rigotti have all had strong falls for Moravian.
"Other than some very minor issues with some tendonitis, we're healthy, fit, and having good workouts," Baumann said. "We've been making big improvements in races and longer tempos to acclimate our freshmen to the 8K distance; our speed is there, so now it's just a matter of them showcasing what we've worked all season on. We have a few people in mind that we feel are ready to make a big jump this meet."