Merriman Finishes Third at UAA Cross Country Championships

Merriman Finishes Third at UAA Cross Country Championships

Case Western Reserve University junior Sam Merriman recorded a third-place finish to lead the Spartans at the 2016 University Athletic Association Championships, hosted by Emory University at McIntosh Reserve Park in Whitesburg, Georgia on Saturday.

Merriman crossed the finish line of the men's 8K race with a time of 24:49.77, the second-fastest time of his career at the distance, and just over five seconds behind the first-place finisher David O'Gara of Washington University (Mo.).  Brandeis University's Ryan Stender placed second with a mark of 24:46.58 among the field of 77 runners.

It marked the first all-conference honor of Merriman's career, as he became the first Spartan runner to earn All-UAA First Team recognition (top-eight finisher at the meet) since Dominic Smith in 2008, and the 13th CWRU runner ever to claim a First Team finish.  He is the first All-UAA finisher overall (first or second team) for CWRU since Chris Kelly and David Dixon earned second team honors in 2012.

Merriman's finish helped the Spartans to place seventh in the team standings with 143 points.  Washington (Mo.) and Carnegie Mellon tied for the UAA Championship with 58 points apiece, while Brandeis placed third with 96 points.  Rounding out the team standings were NYU (121), Emory (134), Chicago (137), CWRU and Rochester (186).

The Spartans' second finisher was senior Galen Caldwell, who finished 20th overall with a time of 25:22.17, while sophomore James De La Cruz finished 39th overall with a career-best time of 25:58.56.  Completing the CWRU quintet of scorers were freshman Luke Robbins, who placed 43rd with a time of 26:08.65, and junior Aidan DeSanto, who placed 47th overall with a time of 26:16.79.

Other CWRU runners who competed on Saturday included senior Bryan Kelly (63rd, 26:58.65), junior James Gibson (75th, 28:15.09) and junior Ben Whitman (76th, 31:31.24).

Next up for the Spartans will be the NCAA Great Lakes Region Championships, as the squad will try to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships in November.  The regional meet is scheduled for Saturday, November 12th at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.