2019 CWRU Men’s Cross Country Season Recap

2019 CWRU Men’s Cross Country Season Recap

The Case Western Reserve University men's cross country capped off a tremendously successful season in 2019 by qualifying for the NCAA Division III Championships for the second-straight season and placing 24th overall at the national championships meet.

The Spartans earned one of the 16 at-large bids to the NCAA Championships in Louisville, Kentucky after notching a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships. It marked the 12th time in program history that CWRU has qualified as a team for the meet, and the first time since making the NCAA Championships five-straight years from 1973 through 1977 that the team has qualified in back-to-back years. The team's 24th-place finish gave the squad its second-straight top-25 finish, and the 10th overall in program history.

Junior Yoshmar Pinal-Alfaro turned in one of his best meets of the year at the national championships, finishing 109th overall out of 280 runners in the 8K race. Junior Trey Razanauskas followed him in 118th place, with first-year Robert St. Clair (161st), senior David Hall (176th) and first-year Jack Begley (196th) rounding out the top five scorers. Other competitors in action for the Spartans at the NCAA Championships included sophomore Logan Singer (257th) and sophomore Alex Loeper (267th).

Case Western Reserve has now been represented at the national meet by at least one men's or women's runner for 17-consecutive seasons.

The Spartans selection to the NCAA Championships came on the heels of a strong performance at the 2019 NCAA Great Lakes Regionals, where the team finished in fourth place (out of 37 teams) for the second-straight year. Razanauskas led the Spartans at the meet, placing fourth overall with a career-best 8K time of 24:08.3, the highest finish by a Spartan at the meet since 2017, and completed the course in a time of 24:08.3, just six seconds behind the winning time. Razanauskas was one of three Spartans to earn All-Region honors, along with St. Clair (14th) and Pinal-Alfaro (17th). Finishing just outside of the top-35 for CWRU were Hall (37th) and Begley (37th), and Singer added a 56th-place finish.  CWRU completed the meet with a team score of 111.

Case Western Reserve placed fourth at the University Athletic Association Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania earlier in the year, giving the squad its best finish at the conference meet since 2017. Razanauskas earned All-UAA honors for the second-straight season, placing fifth out of 75 runners to secure a spot on the first team for the first time in his career. Begley was named the UAA Rookie of the Year as the top-finishing first-year runner at the meet, becoming just the second Spartan ever to earn the award, along with Aaron Johnston-Peck in 2003. Sophomore Spencer Weigand was the team's second finisher at the UAA Championships, narrowly missing out on a spot on the all-conference second team with a 17th-place finish.

From start to finish, the Spartans' 2019 campaign was one of the most successful in the team's history. CWRU was ranked 19th nationally in the preseason by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, and remained in the national poll throughout the campaign for the first time in program history. CWRU was ranked as high as 18th nationally during the year, the team's highest in-season ranking ever, and its highest ranking overall since checking in at seventh to conclude the 1986 campaign.

At the All-Ohio Championships in Cedarville, Ohio on September 28, CWRU finished fifth overall out of 38 teams and second among the Division III squads. Competing in his first meet of the season, Razanauskas placed 15th overall and sixth among Division III competitors to lead the Spartans.

Also during the campaign, the Spartans won the Sudeck Classic Stampede, placed third at the Knight Invite, the Allegheny Classic, and the Inter-Regional Rumble, and secured a 10th-place finish at the Live in Lou Classic. Razanauskas was the top-overall finisher at the Inter-Regional Rumble, and was the team's top finisher in five of the six races he competed in during the year. Other top finishers for the Spartans during the campaign included Pinal-Alfaro (at the NCAA Championships), Hall (at the Knight Invite), sophomore Rahul Mikkilineni (at the Allegheny Classic) and Weigand (at the Sudeck Classic Stampede).

In addition to the team's athletic success, 10 members of the men's cross country team – junior Daniel Grasing, Hall, senior Michael Hradesky, Mikkilineni, junior Thomas Patton, junior Eric Rachita, senior Karthik Ravichandran, Razanauskas, Singer and Weigand – received UAA Fall All-Academic Recognition. Hall, Rachita, Ravichandran and Razanauskas were also inducted into the Van Horn Society, awarded to CWRU students with a cumulative GPA of 3.8 or higher.

The following Spartans earned individual honors during the 2019 season:

 

NCAA Division III Championship Participants

Yoshmar Pinal-Alfaro

Junior

San Jose, Calif. / Archbishop Mitty

109th Place

Trey Razanauskas

Junior

Zelienople, Pa. / Seneca Valley

118th Place

Robert St. Clair

First-Year

Mundelein, Ill. / Mundelein

161st Place

David Hall

Senior

Stow, Ohio / Stow-Munroe Falls

176th Place

Jack Begley

First-Year

Worthington, Ohio / Worthington Kilbourne

196th Place

Logan Singer

Sophomore

Evanston, Ill. / Evanston Township

257th Place

Alex Loeper

Sophomore

Medina, Ohio / Medina

267th Place

 

All-Great Lakes Region

Trey Razanauskas

Junior

Zelienople, Pa. / Seneca Valley

Fourth Place

Robert St. Clair

First-Year

Mundelein, Ill. / Mundelein

14th Place

Yoshmar Pinal-Alfaro

Junior

San Jose, Calif. / Archbishop Mitty

17th Place

 

All-UAA

Trey Razanauskas

Junior

Zelienople, Pa. / Seneca Valley

Fifth Place

 

UAA Rookie of the Year

Jack Begley

First-Year

Worthington, Ohio / Worthington Kilbourne

 

UAA Athlete of the Week

David Hall

Senior

Stow, Ohio / Stow-Munroe Falls

Sept. 9

Trey Razanauskas

Junior

Zelienople, Pa. / Seneca Valley

Sept. 30