Photo provided by Baron Athletics
The men’s cross country team won the 2021 Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championship Oct. 30 at Chatham University in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.
This victory marks the team’s fourth consecutive conference championship win, with another PAC victory in 2020, and two Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Championship wins in 2018 and 2019.
The Barons swept the podium after they finished with the meet’s top four times. That earned the Barons a conference record of 16 points — the lowest score winning — with 15 points being the best score possible.
Graduate student Liam Galligan led the Barons in the eight-kilometer race with his first-place time of 26:26.77. Following him in order were junior Miguel Daez, graduate student Mark Borek and junior George Kaftan, all of whom finished within the 27-minute range.
Franciscan was not able to grab fifth place; however, junior Danny Donovan and sophomore Conal Delaney were able to secure sixth and eighth place respectively.
Kaftan, who placed fourth with a time of 27:32.22, said, “The meet couldn’t have gone better for us. We made a plan before the race and it worked out just how we hoped.”
Kaftan said, “From top to bottom of our roster, including our newcomer of the year Conal Delaney, everyone put in their best effort, and I’m honored to be a part of such a good team.”
Daez, who earned a second-place time of 27:07.70, said, “(The meet) went amazing. We came in knowing that we were going to do pretty well. … We totally obliterated the competition.”
The cross country team is not done yet. The Barons will move on to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Great Lakes Regional Meet Nov. 13 in Shelbyville, Indiana. The Barons are currently ranked sixth in the region.
After regionals, the Barons have a chance to compete in the NCAA Division III National Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, if they secure the top four positions at regionals, Daez said.
“It’s been a long-term goal of ours to try to make it to nationals as a team (because) we’ve never done that before,” Daez said. “We’ve been waiting for this for a really long time, and I think it’s time to show that Franciscan is dominant in cross county.”
Donovan, who placed sixth with a time of 27:51.45, recalled the team’s motto: “Today, I make nationals.”