November 13, 2018--Mount St. Mary's distance coach Chris FitzSimons has been named the Northeast Conference men's cross country Coach of the Year. FitzSimons guided the Mountaineers to their first NEC men's cross country title since 1998 this season. The NEC also announced its cross country All-Rookie teams with Will Merritt earning a spot for the Mountaineers.
FitzSimons saw four Mountaineers finish in the top nine at the NEC Championships, with all four earning All-NEC honors, to pave the way to the team title. Nicolas Fransham led the group with a second-place finish while Merritt, Isaac Kole and Benjamin Finnigan finished seventh through ninth, respectively. Mitchel Wileczek rounded out the Mount's top five, finishing 18th overall. The Mount finished with 44 points to win the team title, ahead of Saint Francis U (59) and Wagner (60).
Merritt, a sophomore competing in his first collegiate cross country season after transferring to the Mount from NC State last Spring, was named to the All-Rookie Team. The top seven rookies at the NEC Championships comprise the All-Rookie squad. Merritt had a successful outdoor season for the Mount, finishing fifth at the NEC Championships in the 5,000m while earning All-Rookie team honors in both the 1,500m and the 5,000m run. Merritt also qualified for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Under 20 World Championships in Tampere, Finland, where he ran in the 10,000m run in July.