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Women’s Cross Country Team Races to Region 19 Title for First Time in Program History; Team To Run at Nationals Nov. 12

11/7/16


With the Region 19 plaque are, from left, Assistant Coach Tony Genovesi and Head Coach Mike DeAngelis, and runners Breanna Santini, Sage Southard, Jacqueline Leszcynski, Mani Rivera-Kissling, Megan Jean and Veronica Wise. Not pictured: Maria Ramos.

West Windsor, N.J. – It was a total team effort as the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) women’s cross country team took home the Region 19 title on Oct. 30 at Branch Brook Park in Newark.  The Vikings competed against  Essex County College and Del Tech in Division I, winning the 5K race with 39 points, followed by Del Tech with 43 and Essex with 48. (The team with the lowest point total wins.)

Sage Southard led the Vikings with a 3rd place finish overall in 20:29, followed by Taymani Rivera-Kissling, who came in 6th (21:29).  Then, with just a small break, came the rest of the Mercer squad in quick succession: Jacky Leszcynski in 9th (22:46); Breanna Santini in 10th (23:20); Maria Ramos in 11th (23:38); Veronica Wise in 12th (23:49); and Megan Jean in 13th (23:52).

Head Coach Mike DeAngelis, for one, is not surprised by this significant Vikings achievement.   “This team put in so much hard work.  We began practicing in early August and the women were totally dedicated to it,” he said, adding that most of the squad is balancing academics and jobs, in addition to athletics.

According to DeAngelis, winning Region 19 was the team’s goal from the very beginning of the season.  “They put in the time and they were well prepared for the championships.  They really wanted it,” he said.
 
DeAngelis believes that the women, along with members of the men’s cross country team, motivated each other throughout the season. “They are a good group of runners and an even better group of people.  We created a family of runners."

He notes that the men’s and women’s teams followed the same practice schedule Mondays through Thursdays, alternating hard workouts with lighter ones, and also working out in the Fitness Center.

The team leaves for the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division I Championships in El Dorado, KS, on Nov. 10, with the big race to take place Saturday, Nov. 12.

DeAngelis has been assisted this season by Tony Genovesi, a former coach at The College of New Jersey and Notre Dame High School, and Doug Johnson, both of whom DeAngelis has called instrumental to the team’s success.

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