Cross Country, Sports

Lagasse, Walkonen secure NCAA bids

Boston University senior Andrea Walkonen and junior Erin Lagasse finished second and eighth, respectfully, at the Northeast Regional Championship Saturday at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y., to qualify for the NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championship.

Walkonen led the six-kilometer race until the final 30 meters, when Danette Doetzel of Providence College passed her to win by 1.3 seconds.

‘Andrea ran a very strong race,’ BU coach Bruce Lehane said. ‘Her time was very impressive. Doetzel just got her down the stretch.’

Junior Sarah Mosser, freshman Katie Matthews and sophomore Kathleen Davies completed BU’s scoring lineup for an eighth-place cumulative finish. Providence, led by Doetzel, won with a cumulative time of 1:48:21.2. Syracuse University, Boston College, Stony Brook University and Columbia University rounded out the top five.

Walkonen finished with a time of 20:57.8, while Lagasse crossed the line in 21:46.8. Both times were personal bests.

The top two teams automatically qualified for the NCAAs, while the top four runners ‘- including Walkonen and Lagasse ‘- from non-qualifying teams also punched their tickets to nationals.

‘Overall, I was satisfied with our finish. It’s always fun to run at Van Cortlandt Park. It’s a very historic course that’s been around for over 100 years,’ Lehane said.

The course, which had been soaked by the previous night’s rain, featured many steep down hills. This favored the more physically fit runners.

‘It was the kind of course that makes push go to shove. It takes lots of strength and it bangs up the body. But everybody runs it,’ he said. ‘It’s hard for our women in the [six-kilometer race] and even harder for our men in the 10k.’

The men, led by senior David Proctor’s 73rd-place finish, came in 20th out of 33 teams overall.

‘David is more of a track runner, but he did well as our first man in,’ Lehane said.

Freshmen Elliot Lehane and Peter Gilmore finished as BU’s second and third runners, respectively. Junior David Polgar and sophomore Kenneth Haltom rounded out the scoring five.

‘ ‘We probably peaked at the America East race. After that, we took it easy for a little bit,’ Lehane said. ‘It’s important to balance hard work and recovery. Overdoing the workout can leave you flat in the race.’

Iona College won the men’s overall meet. Their No. 1 runner, senior Mohamed Khadraoui, won individually with a time of 31:11.6 on the 10k course. Providence, Columbia, Dartmouth University and Syracuse finished second through fifth, respectively.

The NCAA Championship will take place in Terra Haute, Ind., on Nov. 24.

‘We’re hoping for one of the girls to finish in the top 20,’ Lehane said.

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