The United States Merchant Marine Academy men's cross country team came in third at the 2012 Landmark Conference Championships, scoring 75 points and having two runners named second team All-Conference Saturday afternoon in Altoona, PA.
The meet was hosted by Juniata at the Fort Roberdeau historical site and consisted of all eight Landmark members. On a day featuring ideal racing conditions, Moravian took the top spot, followed by Susquehanna and Merchant Marine.
The third place, 75 point result was the best conference finish for USMMA in program history. Kings point placed four runners in the top 20 and nine in the top 35, proving to be the deepest team in the conference. The result more than cut Merchant Marine's 2011 score in half, when they totaled 154 points.
"It was an absolutely outstanding improvement from a year ago," commented Head Coach Greg Lott. "To cut the team score in half is more than I could've wished for at the start of the year."
Senior Daniel Baxter (pictured) led the charge for the Mariners placing eighth with a time of 27:17 on his way to earning second team All-Conference honors. Sophomore David McGowan also earned a spot on the second Team All-Conference list, coming in second for the Mariners, and placing 12th overall with a time of 27:38.
The Landmark Conference awards All-Conference distinctions to the top 14 finishers. It was the first time in several years that a member of the men's cross country team has earned an All-Conference distinction, and the first time two have done it in the same year since USMMA joined the Landmark Conference.
Coming in third for Kings Point was sophomore Nicolas Walsh who ran his best race to date placing 16th overall with a time of 27:34.
Saturday marked the first time all season for the Mariners that they did not have a freshman finish in any of the top three team spots.
"The final standing was a little bittersweet," noted Coach Lott. "Many of our guys, especially our plebes, were just beat from finals week; they just didn't have the life in their legs that I've seen all year. We did have a few guys really excel which was especially impressive considering the circumstances. Now we have 2 weeks to get recovered and ready for a breakout performance at the NCAA Regional meet."
USMMA will have a tune up at the ECAC Championships next weekend in Williamstown, MA before heading to the NCAA Regional Championships the following weekend in Rochester, NY.