Today: Apr 21, 2024

Men’s cross country adds All-American to already impressive fall roster

Junior Selasi Lumax is bring his track and field prowess to the cross country team.

PAT LONGOBARDI — Sports Reporter

Teams are always looking to build on past successes. This year, men’s cross country looks to do that with veteran leadership and an infusion of All-American talent. 

“It is harder, and definitely longer,” said Selasi Lumax—two-time All-American in the 800 meter run. “You have to practice really [hard].”

Lumax, a somerset, New Jersey native, will be in his first season on the cross-country team. 

“We will be deeper with more runners and learn to stay together,” Lumax said.

Southern is ranked No. 3 in the region in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason rankings. The team lost four seniors from last year and will have 14 athletes on its roster, three more than in 2010.

“We have to be conservative and be on the same page and understand what to do,” said Wallin.

The Owls will have five competitions leading up to the postseason. September will feature three of those. The Owls open the 2011 season on Saturday, Sept. 2 at the CCSU Blue Devil Invitational hosted by Central Connecticut State in New Britain. Southern then comes back after a two-week break for the Division II Cross Country Challenge at Kutztown University, in Pennsylvania on Sept. 17. They will take part in the Metropolitan Championships on Sept. 30. 

There are three meets in October. The first is the New England Championships on Oct. 9 in Boston, Mass. The following weekend, the team will compete in the Connecticut College Invitational on Oct. 15—the final regular season competition.

The Northeast-10 Conference Championship will be Sunday, Oct. 23 hosted by AIC in North Hampton, Mass. UMass-Lowell (men’s) and Stonehill (women’s) are the defending conference champions.

The NCAA Division II Regionals are scheduled for Nov. 5 or 6. The NCAA Division II National Championships will be in Spokane, Wash. on Nov. 19.

The 2010 season was highlighted by a fourth-place finish at the Northeast-10 Championships, and a third-place finish at the NCAA Division II East Regionals—four runners placed in the top 24. 

Southern was ranked as high as No. 4 in the USTFCCCA East Region Poll last season. 

Preseason top-ranked Adams State, (Wallin’s former squad), is the defending Division II National Champion. Adams has won three consecutive titles.

There will be two seniors—Josh Perry (Naugatuck, Conn.) and Kyle Reiss (North Haven, Conn.), nine juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen. Tom Saksa (Seymour, Conn.) and Michael Vagnini (Woodbury, Conn.) will be the new additions. 

Wallin said the first competition at Central Connecticut is really to figure out the team.

“This is just to see where we are,” Wallin said. “We look at this as a mini-quiz.”

Wallin is in his second year as the head men’s Cross Country and Track and Field coach at Southern, this will be his third year with the squad. He helped guide Southern to the program’s first-ever New England Outdoor Track and Field Championship victory and a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2010-11. Southern also ran its streak to 18-consecutive Northeast-10 Conference titles. Wallin coached 11 All-America selections and was named the USTFCCA Regional Coach of the Year.       

“We’re learning the ins and outs, and what pumps them up and prevents them from breaking,” Wallin said. “We focus on not the beginning, but the end. We look at best performances at regionals, conferences and nationals.”

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