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Cross Country Spotlight:
Willard sets Record but Devils Place Ninth at Metro Championship

Sunday, September 24, 2006

By Bob Heller
USIP Sports Information Director

Matt Willard broke the Belmont Plateau school record but the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia men's cross country team finished a somewhat disappointing 9th place out of the 21 schools competing at yesterday's Philadlephia Metro Championship.

Willard (Fr., Cardinal O'Hara HS/Broomall, Pa.) completed the 8,000-meter course in 27:56.35, bettering the mark of 28:37.53 set last year by teammate Nick Willey (So., Shenendehowa HS/Clifton Park, N.Y.) at the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championships. Willard's time was good enough for fourth place overall, 19 seconds behind overall winner Walter Tum of Bloomfield College. Willey also bettered his old mark, finishing in sixth place overall with a time of 28:01.85.

As a team, the Devils finished with 239 points, two behind eighth place and host Cabrini College. Richard Stockton University won the meet for the eighth time in the last ten years with 62 points.

The ninth place finish was due to the gap between USP's top two finishers and their third through fifth finishers. Nick Barkley (Fr., Mansfield HS/Mansfield, Tex.) was the third USP runner to cross the line, finishing in 34:37.69 in 87th place overall and over six minutes behind Willard and Willey. Rounding out the Devils top five finishers were Ryan Pell (Sr., West York HS/York, Pa.) and Nick Barger (So., Our Lady of Lourdes HS/Stormville, N.Y.). Pell crossed the line in 96th place overall with a time of 35:32.95 while Barger finished in 36:05.52 (100th place).

George Strock (Sr., Blue Mountain HS/ Schuylkill Haven, Pa.) (37:22) and Rich DiGiacomo (Jr., St. John Neumann HS/Philadelphia, Pa.) (37:31) rounded out the Devils top seven finishers.

USP returns to Belmont Plateau next week for the Belmont Classic, hosted by Cabrini College. The men's race will start at 1 p.m.