Men's Cross Country Preview

Release Date:
September 20, 2011
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

Under the leadership of a new head coach, the Hilbert College men’s cross country team will be more focused and better prepared for the 2011 fall season. Geoff Brunger brings over thirty years of teaching and coaching at the high school level to Hilbert and has the men’s team organized and getting ready for the AMCC championship at Beaver Island State Park which will take place at the end of October.

Returning for their third seasons are Paul Coleman (2010 Coaches Award) and Aaron Lawrence (2010 team MVP). Both seniors have worked on their technique with the anticipation of lowering their times this fall. Two other 2012 graduates return to the program, although both are in their second year of NCAA eligibility. Stephen Crane (2010 Most Improved Runner) returns in great physical shape ready to run this fall. Pat Lagueras returns after he took his junior year off from the team. Lagueras will use the fall season to improve his physical and mental toughness with the cross country team to prepare him for his pitching duties on the baseball team in the spring.

Other returning Hawks are Cameron Haag and Lenny Messina. Haag’s saved his best time in 2010 for the AMCC Championship meet with an 8K time of 38:06. Messina ran one 8K race in 2010 with his 41:00.00 placing him third on the team in the Harry F. Anderson race.

Newcomers to the program are a mixture of first year and second year students at Hilbert College. Looking to make an impact and help the Hawks team standings at the championship race October 29 are sophomores Matt Hunt, Andre Niedzielski and Matt Williams as well as freshman John Sadowski.

Hilbert opens the season at the Fredonia Invitational (9/10) before they travel to Penn State Behrend’s Invitational (9/17). On September 24, the Hawks will race in the Harry F. Anderson meet hosted by Roberts Wesleyan College.

On October 1, The Hawks are hosting their Third Annual Meghan Memorial race at Frontier high school. This race honor’s the memory of Meghan Sobera whose life was tragically cut short in 2008 during her sophomore year at Hilbert. Meghan was a member of the women’s team her first year and loved running. This race, under the leadership of Brunger and Devlin, has been expanded and will included not only a college division championship, but a high school division as well as an open race to the public.

To prepare for the AMCC Championship course, Hilbert will complete in the Medaille Invitational at Beaver Island State Park October 8. A favorite race for many colleges who don’t sponsor track and field programs in the spring is the CCOC (Cross Country Only Competition) hosted by William Smith College at the Seneca Lake State Park October 15. 

Since Hilbert is the only Division III school in Western New York with a campus large enough to host a cross country meet, the Hawks are scheduled to host their own Invitational on a Thursday (10/20) to prepare the local schools with one more race prior to the AMCC Championships the following weekend (10/29). The men’s portion of the league race will start at 12 noon.

Brunger and Devlin are excited about the group of young men returning as well as the new comers to the program. 

Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.