ANNAPOLIS, MD. – The Navy Men’s Cross Country Team kicks off their 2021 season this Saturday morning with some action at the Salisbury Fall Classic. Welcoming a deep and talented freshman class to its ranks, the program will focus on securing its freshmen on Saturday at the season opener. After an abridged two-race season last fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fourth-year head coach Aaron Lanzel and his team are working to make up for lost time and regain their place among the best teams in the Mid-Atlantic region and the Patriot League.
A year after four freshmen made their college debut and just one senior in their starting lineup, the 2021 Navy men’s cross country team promises to be a strong leadership mix. and seasoned and hungry underclass, looking to break through after an incomplete 2020 campaign. Senior Ashwin briggs was elected last spring to serve as the Mids’ team captain for this fall’s eight-event list. A member of the Navy’s starting lineup throughout his first three seasons of cross-country competition, Briggs placed in the top seven in 11 of his 13 career races through 2020. Last fall , he recorded a pair of top 10 results, including a fifth place finish against Army in the Star Meet.
Briggs will be joined by a deep and talented senior class led by consistent newbies John bowers, Miguel Mathias, Luc Murphy, David nelsen and Grant Van Valkenburg. Bowers entered the Navy’s starting 12 in the second half of his sophomore year and adapted for the Mids versus the Army and the Patriot League Championship that season before competing in both events. of 2020, including the Star Meet where he recorded a career best 11th. place the finish. Mathias was a critical part of the Mids’ success early in his freshman year when he ran six times, highlighted by a 31st place finish in the Patriot League championship which was the fourth best for an individual in the Navy. Continuing to score points for his team in his sophomore year, he rose to the forefront of the Mids’ effort as a junior with overall top-seven results against Pittsburgh and Army. Murphy returns as the only contender to have experience on the Patriot League Championship podium as he won a second-year All-PL second-team nod in 2019 after placing 12th in the general classification out of 106 runners. One of the top five scorers among Navy contenders in all of his 2019 races, Murphy maintained that pace as a junior with a fifth against Pitt and a sixth against Army under his belt. Nelsen is another senior, who claimed his starting spot in first year after racing six times in 2018. In his 13 career starts in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons, Nelsen finished among the top seven riders. of the Navy on 10 different. occasions. The last elder, who contributed to the success of the Navy throughout his career is Van Valkenburg. After a quiet start to his career as a freshman in 2018, he secured his first top-five result among Midshipmen riders at the Harry Lang Invite 2019. He broke through in 2020 with a pair of remarkable results in contest against Pitt and Army as he placed fourth overall in both, behind only the former senior at the time. Julien perez for top honors among the Mids. The duo of Sean casey and Elliott Schultz are returning for their fourth year with the program and will provide depth and leadership to the Navy’s 43-man roster.
A junior quintet competed in the 2020 Navy Short Season with Clark Garrison and Alex rizzo open the way. Clark was the top sophomore in both Mids races last fall as he placed seventh overall (fifth on Navy) against Pittsburgh and tenth overall (sixth on Navy) against Army . Individual champion of the 2019 Salisbury Fall Classic as a plebe, Rizzo remained stable as a member of the Mids’ starting lineup in 2020, topping by an eighth place finish against the Panthers. Brett Brady has put himself on the radar as someone to watch after racing with college starters in both contests of 2020 with an 11th place result against Army as a personal highlight. Jack Mariano and Mitchell Rome rounded out the group of 23-class runners to see the action as the two raced against Pittsburgh in the season opener on Oct. 2.
A sophomore class of nine returns in 2021 hoping to gain a deeper insight into college racing. Of these nine aspirants, Garret baublitz, Joseph curran, Sam keeny and Jack rooney all adapted to college competition last fall, with Baublitz and Rooney being the most successful. Running side by side in the Pittsburgh and Army games, Rooney edged his teammate Baublitz by two places against the Panthers (16-18) and one against the Black Knights (19-20). Curran and Keeny also teamed up in their lone race of 2020 against Pittsburgh as the duo found themselves back-to-back in 24th and 25th, respectively against the Panthers.
The Mids had 17 freshmen at preseason camp this year and many were hoping to be part of the team’s starting lineup as the season progresses. The first task for the majority of these freshmen will be to see the action at the Salisbury Fall Classic on Saturday. The regional multi-team event is scheduled to start at 9:45 a.m. at Winter Place Park. The Navy’s solitary home run is scheduled for Friday, September 10 in the form of the Navy Twilight Run. Other dates to circle on the calendar include the Army-Navy Star meet in Wappingers Falls on Friday, October 15, the Patriot League Championship on Sunday, October 31, and the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional on Friday, November 12.