NASHUA, N.H. – Rob Dextradeur (Branford, Conn./Branford HS) placed fifth and John Drago (Avon, Conn./Avon HS) followed in ninth as the senior-dominated Bentley University men's cross country team qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships with a second-place finish in the NCAA East Regional Sunday afternoon at Mine Falls Park.
Bentley will be making its first trip as a team to the NCAA Championships since a four-year run from 2000-03. The meet will be held in Joplin, Mo. on Saturday, Nov. 17.
Bentley's top six in the 27-team, 188-runner meet were all seniors and five of those earned All-East Region honors by virtue of placing in the top 25.
"Today was a great day for the men's team," said coach Kevin Curtin. "Qualifying for the NCAAs was the sole goal of the team this year so we're thrilled that we were able to accomplish it. We finished fourth at the NE-10s and while we would have liked to have been a little closer to the top of the conference, not one of the guys doubted that we were capable of running with the three teams that beat us at LeMoyne. This is a senior-laden squad that really has made my job easier over the last couple of years, so I'm glad that they've earned the right to run one more cross-country race together."
Dextradeur, who has been the Falcons' number one finisher in the last seven races he has competed in (dating back to the start of last season), covered the 10,000-meter course in 30:12.4. That was an improvement on his 2011 finish by ten places.
The Falcons were the only team to have three of the top eleven finishers with Dextradeur and Drago (30:51.4) joined by Sean Maguire (Essex, Vt./Essex HS), with a time of 30:57.9.
Also scoring for the Falcons were Craig Robinson (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough HS) and Teddy Farley (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough Reg. HS). Robinson was 15th in 31:04.0 and Farley finished 25th in 31:27.4.
Bentley finished with a team score of 64 and defeated two teams it finished behind in last month's Northeast-10 Championships, Stonehill and UMass-Lowell. American International, which had two of the top three runners, captured the regional title with a score of 48, and Stonehill was the third qualifying team with an 84. UMass-Lowell missed out by ten points, despite having the individual champion in Jeff Viega.
Viega finished in 28:53.7 to best Northeast-10 champion Mike Biwott of AIC by 22.4 seconds and defending champion Glarius Rop of AIC by about 35 seconds.
NCAA DIVISION II EAST REGIONAL
At Mine Falls Park, Nashua, N.H.
Team Scores: 1. American International 48; 2. Bentley 64; 3. Stonehill 84; 4. UMass-Lowell 94; 5. Southern Connecticut State 124; 6. Adelphi 160; 7. Wilmington (Del.) 238; 8. Felician 252; 9. Saint Rose 297; 10. Merrimack 304; 11. St. Thomas Aquinas 363; 12. Dowling 377; 13. Molloy 388; 14. Assumption 403; 15. Franklin Pierce 405; 16. LIU Post 441; 17. Philadelphia 442; 18. Nyack 492; 19. New Haven 527; 20. St. Michael's 534; 21. Le Moyne 563; 22. Queens (N.Y.) 575; 23. Saint Anselm 632; 24. New York Tech 653; 25. Post 733; 26. Holy Family 779; 27. Southern New Hampshire 814.
Top Individuals: 1. Jeff Viega, UMass-Lowell, 28:53.7; 2. Mike Biwott, AIC, 29:16.1; 3. Glarius Rop, AIC, 29:28.5; 4. Andrew Coelho, Adelphi, 29:45.9; 5. Rob Dextradeur, Bentley, 30:12.4.