New Orleans, La. - On Nov. 21 in Vancouver, Washington, three runners are set to represent Loyola University New Orleans at the NAIA Men’s and Women’s Cross Country National Championships. For the men’s team, freshman Kieran Harper will run for the Wolfpack, while freshman Hannah Dougherty and senior Madeline Falcone qualified for the women. All three runners were selected to the All-GCAC team.
In his first year, Harper, from Kings Park, New York, was outstanding for Loyola, leading the men’s squad in all seven meets this season. At the GCAC Championships, Harper ran a personal best 29:11 in the 8k, placing fifth at the event. In the 5k, Harper had a career best time of 17:27 at the Mobile Invitational, which was the eighth fastest time in Loyola’s history.
“I feel he has a lot left in him and is seeking to improve his time at nationals,” said cross country head coach Andy Canegitta. “I believe he is 30-45 seconds faster than what he did at conference (29:11). I think he is getting more comfortable running the 8k race and will perform well at nationals.”
For the women, Dougherty, out Seattle, Washington, qualified for nationals with a time of 19:46.26 at the GCAC Championships. Her time in the 5k, which was the sixth fastest in Loyola’s history, placed her second at the championships, finishing only five seconds behind the leader. Dougherty led the women in each of the six races she participated in, and had a personal best 25:39.05 in the 6k at the Watson Ford Invitational, which was the second best time in the program’s history. She also grabbed the third spot on Loyola’s 5k record list with a time of 19:39 at the Mobile Invitational.
Falcone was named All-GCAC for the second straight year after taking sixth at the GCAC Championships with a time of 20:42. Falcone, who was named Newcomer of the Year last season as a junior after transferring from Virginia Commonwealth, also made the Loyola record books this year, placing fourth on the 6k list with a time of 25:40 at the Watson Ford Invitational.
“Madeline and Hannah are motivated and excited to get another opportunity to improve on their performance they displayed at conference,” said Canegitta. “Their times were not bad, but felt they could have done better.”
The meets will take place at the Fort Vancouver Historical Site, just north of Portland, Oregon. The men’s 8k will start at 10:30 a.m. PST, with the women’s 5k set to begin at 11:45 PST.