On its way to a 13th place finish at Saturday's NCAA Championships, UMass Lowell's River Hawks Cross Country team compiled 346 points, placed two runners among the ranks of AllAme-ricans, and gained valuable tournament experience for the future.
Which seems to bode well for the coming years.
Jeff Veiga, a junior from Lowell, placed third, and senior Angus MacDonald of Methuen took 36th. Both were named All-Americans, MacDonald - who fought off flu symptoms earlier in the week - landing the honor for the second consecutive yearVeiga's third-place finish earned the River Hawks their best individual score in nearly two decades. He ran the 10K race in 30 minutes, 52.8 seconds.
River Hawks Head Coach Gary Gardner said Veiga ran with confidence and actually led the field for much of the race.
"He was unbelievable. He was never out of the top five," said Gardner. "Even when he wasn't leading, he was always there."
As was his dedication. Veiga left a part-time job to focus more intensely on his training.
UMass Lowell's finish matched its 13th place national ranking by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.The Division II tournament, in Louisville, Ky., drew 182 athletes from 24 schools. It was UMass Lowell's 11th consecutive trips to the NCAA.
Juniors Eric McDonald of Groveland placed 89th overall, and Danny Wang of Haverhill placed 157th. Sophomore Brendan Devlin of Weston placed
142nd, and freshmen Andrew Stamatopoulos of Methuen and Chris Estrella Lowell finished 127th and 132nd, respectively.