JOPLIN, Mo. – The Bentley University men's cross country team and All-America grad student Tara Dooley (Lee, Mass./Lee HS) closed out the season by participating in the NCAA Division II Championships Saturday at Missouri Southern State University's Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course.
The men's team finished 30th among the 32 teams that had qualified for the championships with a score of 741 while Dooley, an individual qualifier, placed 107th in a field of 247 runners.
Bentley's men, making their first appearance since 2012, were led by junior Nik Haas (Ramsey, N.J./Ramsey HS) and sophomore Ryan Cadorette (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy). Haas was 136th overall with a 10,000-meter time of 31:46.30 while Cadorette followed his teammate by two places and 1.10 seconds.
Haas finished strong, moving up from 180th at the midpoint and 168th with 3.13 kilometers to go. Cadorette also moved up after being listed in 144th midway through the race.
Also scoring for the Falcons were freshman Cody Murphy (Dunbarton, N.H./Goffstown HS) (186th, 32:35.40), junior Erik Alatalo (Wilmington, Mass./Wilmington HS) (188th, 32:38.10) and sophomore Graham Chapski (East Greenwich, R.I./East Greenwich HS) (202nd, 32:50.80). Seniors David Cooper (Woburn, Mass./Woburn HS) (226th, 33:18.00) and Thomas Dean (Portland, Maine/ Deering HS) (242nd, 34:01.70) completed Bentley's seven-man squad that competed in the nationals.
"I think it was learning experience for the men, mostly that the NCAA championship race has a much different dynamic than the regional race," said coach Kevin Curtin. "Learning that lesson can only help us down the road. We still had some solid races from Nik and Ryan and we return enough people next year that returning to NCAAs is a reasonable goal."
Dooley, competing in her fourth cross country nationals, was seventh among the East Region runners as she finished the 6,000-meter course in 22:14.90. Like Haas, she climbed significantly over the race's second half, moving up from 152nd.
"Tara fought through so much this fall with injuries," said Curtin. "She's been in walking boots and swimming for the better part of two months and it finally caught up with her today. While her finish wasn't what we were hoping for, she's leaving a legacy of unequaled cross country success for a Bentley athlete. The fact that she even qualified for NCAAs this year is a testament to her will. She has helped to lay a foundation of success that I hope will continue on."
Dooley, in her previous trips to the nationals, finished 49th in 2011, 58th in 2012 and fourth two years ago.