America East Cross Country Championships: Historic Day At Stony Brook For UMass Lowell, UMBC, And New Hampshire
America East cross country champions UMass Lowell. Doug Austin/America East.

It was a day to break history at the America East Conference Cross Country Championships at Stony Brook. The biggest feat has to go to UMass Lowell, as the men’s team took home the team title for the school’s first ever America East title in any sport. Hassan Omar of UMBC became the first Retriever to take home the individual title.

It wasn’t just a day for historic firsts though. The New Hampshire Lady Wildcats became the third school in conference history to win three consecutive cross country titles while local favorite Christina Melian became the fourth Stony Brook Lady Seawolf to win the individual title in the last six years.

Men’s Race

Hassan Omar of UMBC. Doug Austin/America East

The men would race an 8K course at Long Island. An 8K is nearly a five mile race. UMBC’s Omar, a senior, made the most of his final America East Cross Country Championship race to take home the first individual title in UMBC history with a time of 24:43.21. He outraced UMass Lowell senior Robert Allen in the end, defeating him by five seconds, 24:48.81. Allen was followed by teammate Paul Hogan to give the River Hawks a 2-3 finish, which was vital for their scoring. Binghamton senior Collin Frost and UMBC senior Austin Hayslett rounded out the top five.

Just after five runners, it looked to be a tight battle between UMass Lowell and UMBC for the team title with the River Hawks leading the Retrievers by one, 5-6. In cross country, the team with the lowest score wins the title. After that though, UMass Lowell asserted themselves getting their third, fourth, and fifth runners before UMBC could get their third across.

The River Hawks ran away with the team title with 42 points, 32 more than runners-up Stony Brook. Binghamton, Maine, and UMBC rounded out the top five teams. Binghamton nearly pipped Stony Brook for second, missing out on being the runners-up by four points.

America East Men's All-Conference 1st Team (Runners 1-7)

Hassan Omar (Sr. UMBC): 24:43.21

America East men's individual champion, Hassan Omar. Doug Austin/America East

Robert Allen (Sr. UMass Lowell): 24:48.81

Paul Hogan (So. UMass Lowell): 24:50.69

Collin Frost (Sr. Binghamton): 25:10.73

Austin Hayslett (Sr. UMBC): 25:14.59

Mitchell Kun (Sr. Stony Brook): 25:21.66

Jesse Orach (Jr. Maine): 25:24.48

America East Men’s All-Conference 2nd Team (Runners 8-14)

Kyle Gronostaj (So. Albany): 25:26.48

Ethan Hausmann (Sr. Binghamton): 25:32.44

Zach Ganshirt (Sr. UMass Lowell): 25:32.61

John Abraham (So. UMass Lowell): 25:34.78

Bryce Hedman (Fr. Stony Brook): 25:39.11

Samuel Gagnon (Sr. New Hampshire): 25:39.17

Levi Frye (Jr. Maine): 25:39.68

America East XC First and Second All-Conference Teams. Doug Austin/America East

Women’s Race

Christina Melian of Stony Brook dominates the women's race at the AEXC Championships. Doug Austin/America East

The ladies would run a 5K, a race just over three miles. Melian, a junior at Stony Brook, dominated the race, winning by a margin of over 16 seconds over New Hampshire senior Laura Rose Donegan. Jessica Donahue of Albany went on to finish third. New Hampshire put two across the line in the top four after senior Amber Short would cross at a time of 18:36.78.

Through 12 runners, it looked to be a four-horse race for the America East title. Through 14 runners, Stony Brook put two across the line, New Hampshire had three across, UMass Lowell three across, and Albany also had three across. The Wildcats would get a fourth runner over before Albany could and their fifth and sixth runners would finish before the Lady Great Danes’ could get their fifth runner over as the Wildcats three-peated as America East champions. New Hampshire won the title by 12 points (45-57) over Albany. Stony Brook finished third on 77 points, and UMass Lowell finished fourth on 98 points.

America East cross country women's champions New Hampshire. Doug Austin/America East

Out of the top 12 runners, only one did not come from those four schools mentioned already. That runner was Sophia Cologer of UMBC who finished fifth. Her, Anna Kaplan and Samantha Sayer (Vermont), and Alexis Hatcher (Binghamton) were the only four runners to cross inside the top 20, not from Stony Brook, New Hampshire, Albany or UMass Lowell. 

America East All-Conference Women’s First Team

Christina Melian (Jr. Stony Brook): 17:53.24

Melian with her individual title. Doug Austin/America East

Laura Rose Donegan (Sr. New Hampshire): 18:09.70

Jessica Donahue (Jr. Albany): 18:35.81

Amber Short (Sr. New Hampshire): 18:36.78

Sophia Cologer (Jr. UMBC): 18:46.07

Jackie Solimine (Jr. UMass Lowell): 18:48.51

Brianna Boden (Sr. New Hampshire): 18:54.19

America East All-Conference Women’s Second Team

Johanna Smith (Jr. Albany): 18:56.81

Molly Pezzulo (Sr. Albany): 18:57.31

Allie Morris (Fr. UMass Lowell): 19:00.80

Kathryn Loughnane (So. UMass Lowell): 19:05.72

Christine Eisenberg (Jr. Stony Brook): 19:06.21

Samantha Blais (Sr. New Hampshire): 19:07.61

Anna Kaplan (So. Vermont): 19:08.28

America East All-Conference First and Second Teams. Doug Austin/America East
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