MADISON, Conn. - Senior Goose First was first overall in the 2012 NCAA Northeast Regional Championships at Hammonasset State Park and led the No. 4 Iona College men's cross country team to the team title in the 10k race. Iona earned its 11th straight automatic bid into next Saturday's NCAA Championship in Louisville.
It was the Gaels eighth Northeast Regional title in program history. Since the meet began in 1997, Iona has won more championships than any other team in the region. The Maroon & Gold finished first at the meet in 2008.
Goose cruised to a near 12-second win, crossing the line in 30:04.5. Harvard's Maksim Korolev was second in 30:16.2. Goose is the fifth straight individual champion for the Gaels after Leonard Korir finished first in both 2010 and 2011, Ryan Sheridan in 2009 and Mohamed Khadraoui in 2008.
All five Iona scorers finished in the Top 20. Junior Daniel Clorley was fourth (30.27.0), sophomore Jake Byrne was eighth (30:29.4), junior Matthew Gillespie crossed 13th (30:35.3) and red shirt freshman Mike O'Dowd was 19th overall (30:46.3).
Iona's team score of 45 was 27 points better than second place Columbia who also earned an NCAA automatic bid. Syracuse - the team that finished first in the last three regional championships - finished just one point behind the Lions. Dartmouth and Providence rounded out the top five.
The Maroon & Gold's seven previous NCAA Northeast Regional Championships came in 1999 (in a team led by current head coach Ricardo Santos), 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
The Gaels travel to Louisville, KY for the 2012 NCAA Championship next Saturday (Nov. 17).