First Posted: 11/17/2014
Regan Rome and Dominic DeLuca followed up their outstanding high school cross country careers at Dallas by making a major impact on Division I cross country in their freshman seasons.
Rome and DeLuca each earned conference and regional individual recognition while leading their teams to successful seasons. Rome finished her freshman year at the NCAA Division I Championships after helping William & Mary qualify. DeLuca’s season came to an end with a strong performance on the regional level after leading Cornell into the national rankings.
By the time their first college seasons ended, Rome was the number-two runner on a national qualifying team and DeLuca was the top runner on a team in contention for a national spot.
William & Mary put five runners in the top 25, including Rome in 14th place, Nov. 14 when it beat out higher-ranked teams Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and North Carolina State to win the Southeast Regional in Louisville.
The victory qualified the Tribe to run in Saturday’s NCAA Division I Championships in Terre Haute, Ind.
Rome earned all-regional recognition for finishing in the top 25 and was the second finisher for William & Mary with a 6-kilometer time of 20:41.3.
At Dallas last year, Rome won her fourth straight District 2 title, finished second in the state individually and led the Mountaineers to a state Class AA team championship.
William & Mary had earlier won its third straight Colonial Athletic Association Championship in Boston with Carolyn Hennessey taking the individual title and Rome finishing fourth. The fourth-place finish, in 21:04.98, gained Rome CAA all-conference honors and made her the highest-placing freshman.
William & Mary became just the fourth program in Division I history to win 20 or more conference titles in women’s cross country.
DeLuca earned all-Ivy League and All-Regional recognition for his performances in championship events.
In his first college season after winning a state Class AA individual title in high school, DeLuca was the top runner on a team that ranked 37th in the country, according to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Cornell fell short of an NCAA Division I Championships appearance when it placed fifth of 39 teams Nov. 15 in the NCAA Northeast Regional at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, N.Y. The top two were automatic national qualifiers.
Syracuse, Providence, Iona and Columbia finished ahead of Cornell.
DeLuca placed 19th to lead the Big Red. His time of 30:52.24 on the 10-kilometer course was the third-best by any freshman in the event.
Cornell was hopeful of an at-large berth in the national championships, but learned after the event that it had not been selected.
In the previous outing two weeks earlier, DeLuca led Cornell to its highest finish since 2007 when it placed second at the Ivy League Championships.
Princeton won its seventh title in the last nine years and 19th overall.
In cold, wind and steady rain on Princeton’s West Windsor Field course, DeLuca ran in the top 10 throughout the race and finished fourth with an 8-kilometer time of 24:29.3. By finishing in the top five, DeLuca earned first-team, all-Ivy League honors.
DeLuca led a young Cornell lineup that loses just one senior from the top seven of the Ivy League runner-up lineup.