HAVERFORD, Pa. - The 23rd ranked Haverford College men's cross country teams heads to the Centennial Conference Championships Saturday in Gettysburg, looking to capture a sixth consecutive Centennial crown. The starting gun is slated for 11 a.m. on the Gettysburg College campus. The open race is slated for a 12:45 p.m. start.
The Fords have established a sustained run of success in the postseason races, as Haverford enters November looking for a 27th straight trip to the NCAA Division III National Championship meet. The fifth of Haverford's five straight conference crowns came on the Alumni Cross Country Course last season with the Fords outlasting Johns Hopkins by a single point for the title. Haverford has won 23 of the total 26 Centennial Conference crowns, and has never lost when the title meet has been hosted in Haverford. The Fords have had a total of 19 individual champions. Karl Paranya '97 is the program's only three-time champion, achieving the feat in 1994-96.
Although Haverford is without its trio of graduated All-America finishers from a season ago in Greg Morgan, Ryan Herlihy, and Graham Peet, the squad brings back senior co-captain Sam McCalpin, who was a participant at nationals in each of the last two seasons and finished as a second-team All-Centennial Conference selection a season ago. Senior David Watt also returns after scoring at last season's conference meet, while sophomore Peter Buckley, senior Conor Madden, senior Hiro Kawakatsu, and junior Matt Katz all return from last season's title-winning squad.
Sophomore Max Brelig has impressed this season, while first years Ryan Kredell and Aaron Bratt have also shown their mettle with strong performances in the larger meets. Sophomore Nico Tripeny and junior Jack Hunter have each gained championship race experience this season, with strong finishes amongst loaded fields of regional competitors.
This season, the test of hoisting another Centennial Conference banner will be a tough one with two nationally ranked opponents fighting tooth-and-nail to end the reign of the Fords. No. 5 Johns Hopkins is a formidable foe that nearly clipped for the Fords for the title a season ago, while Haverford has split with No. 31 Dickinson in each of the head-to-head meetings this season, with the Fords getting the win at the more recent Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle after the Red Devils finished above the Fords at the early season Paul Short Run at Lehigh.
Following the conference meet, Haverford will head to the NCAA Mideast Regional back at Lehigh on November 16. The men's race is slated to begin at 11 a.m. as the Fords will look to punch a return ticket to nationals.
Fans are encouraged to follow @CentennialConf on Twitter and Instagram for race day coverage from Gettysburg.