2017 CWRU Men’s Cross Country Season Recap

2017 CWRU Men’s Cross Country Season Recap

A second-straight All-America finish for senior Sam Merriman and a seventh-place finish for the team at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship were among the highlights for the Case Western Reserve University men's cross country team during the 2017 season.

Merriman qualified for the NCAA Championships at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois as an individual, and went on to place 11th overall at the meet, the fifth-best finish in program history by a Spartan at the national championship, and a 10-spot improvement over his finish last year.  His time of 24:37.00 was the best 8,000-meter time of his career, and was the fastest ever at the distance by a Spartan at the NCA A Championships (and second only to Peter Kummant's five-mile time of 24:28 at the 1975 NCAA Championships).  Merriman became just the fourth repeat cross country All-American in program history, along with Steve Cullen, Kummant and Greg Bowser.

Merriman qualified for the NCAA Championships after earning all-region honors for the third-straight season at the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region Championships, placing fourth out of 242 finishers at the meet at Liberty Park in Powell, Ohio.  Senior Zach Roshon narrowly missed out on all-region honors at the meet, placing 42nd overall, while seniors Aidan DeSanto (55th) and Ben Whitman (58th) and sophomore Andrew Green (76th) completed the team's scoring finishers.  The Spartans placed seventh out of 35 teams at the Regional Championships with a team score of 235.

The team was anchored throughout the season by its veteran core of Merriman, Roshon and DeSanto.  Merriman was the team's top finisher in its final five varsity races of the season, while DeSanto paced the squad in the first two meets of the year, and was a top-three finisher on the squad in all seven varsity races.  Roshon was a top-three finisher for CWRU in six of his seven races during the campaign, placing second among Spartan runners on four occasions.

Merriman added an All-University Athletic Association First Team honor for the second-straight season, placing sixth out of 77 finishers at the conference championship meet in Woodland Park, New Jersey, and helping lead the Spartans to a seventh-place finish in the team standings at the meet.

At the 2017 All-Ohio Championships in Cedarville, Ohio, Case Western Reserve broke out for a second-place finish out of 17 Division III teams (and ninth out of 37 total collegiate squads).  Merriman placed second out of 135 DIII finishers and 16th out of 323 total finishers at the meet, while Roshon was fourth among Division III competitors and 16th overall in the field.

The Spartans were featured in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Great Lakes Regional Rankings throughout the season, climbing to as high as fourth following their performance at the All-Ohio Championships.  Case Western Reserve also received votes in the USTFCCCA National Poll on October 11th.

Other top-five varsity race finishes for the Spartans as a team in 2017 included fourth-place finishes at both the Ohio Wesleyan University Invitational (out of 18 team) and the Allegheny Classic (out of 11 team), and a third-place finish out of 17 teams at the Yellowjacket Invitational.  Case Western Reserve also hosted and placed second at the Sudeck Sunset Classic Stampede in Hunting Valley, Ohio to open the season on September 1st.

In addition to the team's athletic success during the year, 21 members of the men's cross country team were among the 85 Spartans who received UAA Fall All-Academic recognition, including junior James De La Cruz, DeSanto, senior James Gibson, senior Michael Girbino, sophomore Jacob Goldberg, Green, sophomore David Hall, junior Paul Halliday, sophomore Michael Hradesky, junior Robert Iriye, sophomore Michael Klein, senior Nicholas Knorz, Merriman, sophomore Ian Parker, sophomore Karthik Ravichandran, junior Ben Resnick, sophomore Luke Robbins, Roshon, senior Joseph Volpe, Whitman, and sophomore Xavier Yozwiak.  Seven members of the team – Gibson, Halliday, Iriye, Merriman, Parker, Roshon and Whitman – were among the 47 Spartans inducted into the Van Horn Society, which recognizes student-athletes at the University who have recorded a cumulative grade point average of 3.8 or higher and have an academic standing of juniors or seniors at the University.

CWRU men's cross country team members earned the following honors during the 2017 season:

 

USTFCCCA All-America

Sam Merriman

Sr.

Middlesex, Vt. / U-32

11th Place

 

All-Great Lakes Region

Sam Merriman

Sr.

Middlesex, Vt. / U-32

Fourth Place

 

All-University Athletic Association

Sam Merriman

Sr.

Middlesex, Vt. / U-32

First Team (Sixth Place)