Horgan Earns All-American Honors as Delaware Wraps Up Their Season at NIRCA Nationals

The Delaware Cross Country team finished up the season in Richmond, Virginia at the NIRCA Cross Country National Championships. Facing off against universities from across the country, the Delaware runners gave it all they had in gritty races all across the board. The fierce competition and slightly elongated course gave the squad a run to remember in the season finale.

Starting off the set of championship races were the women, who finished just inside the top 20 in 19th place as a team. It marks the fifth straight time the women finished in the top 20 at Nationals. The Blue Hens were led by freshmen Jade Barrett and Kaitlyn Burke. Barrett finished first for the Blue Hens in 82nd place with a time of 25:58, followed by Burke, who finished 110th at 26:38. Junior Jenna Mlecko followed, finishing in 27:03 in her final cross country race of her career, as the distance captain is graduating early this year. The duo of CJ Williams (27:33) and Natalie Pinto (27:40) continued to work off each other, finishing within two spots of each other to round out the top five. Freshman Hannah Heredia (28:06) took the sixth spot for Delaware and senior Madeleine Dorley (30:11) finished seventh in her last ever race for the school.

The men followed with a tough 29th place team finish. Alex Horgan repeated as an All-American, earning a second-team spot in 23rd place with a time of 26:40. Despite coming off of a foot injury, freshman Evan Diefenbeck finished second for the Blue Hens, coming in at 29:27 to finish in 164th place. Seniors Sasha Latina (29:56) and Chris Calandra (30:58) took the next two spots, ending their cross country careers for Delaware with third and fourth place finishes for the team. Freshman Michael Toy made his top seven debut by also finishing the race in 30:58, followed closely behind by Dan Giron (31:18). Only six members crossed the finish line as Matthew Kwiatkowski was unable to complete the race.

In the class races, six Blue Hens ran their final XC race wearing the blue and gold. Maddy Ciskowski ran one of her best races of the season in her final race of her career, leading Delaware with a time of 28:52. Seniors Kayla Johnson and Kelsie Hansell also finished out their time with Delaware, with Hansell showing immense perseverance by finishing her last ever race fighting through heavy sickness. Team President John Papadopoulos led the squad in the men’s upperclassman race, going out fast and finishing with a time of 32:38. Seniors Matt Bieker and John Salsini-Tobias also finished out their cross country careers with times of 37:35 and 43:28 respectively.

After a long delay and an even longer day, the underclassmen concluded the afternoon with their races. Three girls finished their races separated by less than 35 seconds at the top of the women’s underclassman race. Freshman Camila Montes (28:55) led the pack in 38th place, followed close behind by Lauren Pollock (29:24) and Emma Szydlow (29:28), who finished back-to-back. On the men’s side, the top three underclassman finishers for Delaware were all separated by a minute. Leading the charge was Evan Pawlik (31:17) and Caden MacHenry (31:25), and then Sean Bernardo at 32:16.

With the cross country season ending, Delaware shifts their focus to winter track. The Blue Hens are set to make their season debut on the track at Franklin & Marshall College on December 9th at the Diplomat Open. 

Full meet results can be found here.

The ten seniors who ran their last ever cross country race for Delaware
Josh Pawlik leading a pack of runners
Alex Horgan in a battle on his way to an All-American caliber race
Kayla Johnson turning the corner as she reaches the final mile
Matt Bieker in a pack of runners during his final XC race
Freshman Emma Szydlow finishing her final XC race of her first season