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Three Loyola cross country athletes qualify for NAIA Nationals

November 13, 2009

Loyola's men’s cross country runner Kieran Harper and women Hannah Dougherty and Madeline Falcone each qualified for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Cross Country Championships with their performances in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Championships Nov. 7 at the Choctaw Trails in Clinton, Miss.

Dougherty was the top Loyola performer in the women’s 5K. The freshman from Seattle, Wash., finished second. She ran the sixth fastest time in Loyola history with a 19:46 just five seconds behind Ebony Harding of Xavier, who took the individual women’s title. Falcone finished in sixth place with a time of 20:42. It is the second straight year that Falcone has qualified for the NAIA Championships.

Other competitors for Loyola included Mary Clara Hutchison, who finished 13th with a time of 22:07, Annelise Rickert in 19th place with a time of 22:47.5, Lauren Fereday in 20th place with a time of 22:47.7, Jenna Knoblach in 24th place with a time of 23:39, Clare Hearns in 25th place with a time of 23:49, and Olivia Taylor in 30th place with a time of 25:57. Hutchison and Knoblach had personal bests at the meet.

Loyola finished in third place in the team competition with 60 points. Xavier took the women’s team title with 38 points. Spring Hill was second with 55 points.

On the men’s side, Kieran Harper finished in sixth place with a time of 29:11. His effort was a personal best in the 8K. He has been Loyola’s top performer in all seven contests this season.

Alex Mayon was next over the line for the Wolfpack in a time of 30:44 to finish 16th. Kenny Tsao finished 20th with a time of 31:11, Galen Westerfield in 21st place with a time of 31:11.9, Alex Hall in 24th place with a time of 31:34, Adam Mayon in 28th place with a time of 32:17, Chris Graugnard in 33rd place with at time of 33:39, and Justin Fecke in 41st place with a time of 36:43.

Tsao, Westerfield, Hall and Mayon each recorded personal bests. Fecke ran his top 8K this season.

The Loyola men’s team finished tied for third place with Belhaven as both teams had 84 points. Xavier captured the men’s title with 25 points. Spring Hill was second with 43 points.

“While we did not achieve our team goals, both programs improved from the previous year and will continue to improve. We have a great young group that will continue to work hard and get better. We have three athletes moving on to the nationals. They will represent us well and I am proud of the effort that each athlete gave today,” said Loyola head coach Andy Canegitta.

Dougherty, Falcone and Harper were also named to the GCAC’s All-Conference team. It is the second time that Falcone has been named All-GCAC.

The NAIA Cross Country National Championships will be held on Nov. 21 in Vancouver, Wash.

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