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Mercer Women’s Cross Country Captures Second Straight Region 19 Title, Will Compete at National Meet Nov. 11

10/31/17


From left, Coach Mike DeAngelis, Lesly Gonzalez Samayoa, Breanna Santini, Laura Gould, Claudia Baydar, Haley Baydar, Olivia Reese, Asst. Coach Tony Genovesi (back), Julia Moir, Maria Ramos, Veronica Wise, and Asst. Coach Doug Johnson.

West Windsor, N.J. – For the second consecutive year, the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) women’s cross country team is celebrating its run to the Region 19 title on Oct. 18. The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 19 5K meet took place at White Clay Creek State Park in Newark, Del.

"Mercer looked ready and determined to win. And they went out there and did it," Head Coach Mike DeAngelis said.

This year the Vikings also had an individual Region 19 champion. Freshman Hayley Baydar took first place overall in a time of 19:59, beating second place finisher Andrea Foster of Essex County College by 8 seconds. The Vikings then took 3rd, 4th and 5th places, with Laura Gould placing 3rd in 21:19, Claudia Baydar finishing 4th in 22:01, and Olivia Reiss taking 5th in 22:05. Maria Ramos was the Vikings' 5th runner and had a 10th place finish in 25:00. Also participating in the meet were Breanna Santini, Veronica Wise, Lesly Gonzalez Samayoa, and Julia Moir.

In a sport where the lowest score wins, the Vikings came away with a commanding victory. Mercer totaled 23 points, followed by Essex with 48 points, and Del Tech with 59 points. 

Four MCCC runners were named to the All-Region 19 Team: Hayley and Claudia Baydar, who are twin sisters, Gould and Reiss.

DeAngelis has words of praise for the entire squad. "They looked prepared and confident. They did their absolute best when the pressure was on," he said. He pointed to Haley Baydar's "gutsy performance" in crossing the finish line just 8 seconds ahead of her closest competitor, and to Gould, Claudia Baydar and Reiss, who also pushed the pace. He noted that Ramos, Santini and Wise helped to seal the win and singled out Gonzalez Samayoa and Moir for making huge strides this season.

DeAngelis says the Region 19 title is well deserved. "These women have been working extremely hard since training began in August. I increased the expectations and the mileage after last year's strong season. We want to be competitive at the national level."

The Vikings will get their chance. With the win, they advance to the NJCAA Division 1 championship, to take place in Fort Dodge, Iowa, November 11.

Assisting DeAngelis this season are Tony Genovesi. who has helped with recruiting and practice design, and Doug Johnson, who is a great motivator in workouts and during practices.

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