UML River Hawks

UML to host Cross Country regionals through 2013.

Regional Meets to Continue at Franklin Park

LOWELL – UMass Lowell was named the host of the NCAA Division II East Region men’s and women’s championships through 2013, the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Friday.

UMass Lowell has been the host institution for the East Region Championship for nine of the 11 years at Franklin Park in Boston and will continue to use the Park’s course through 2013.

“It is an honor to be the host for the NCAA East Region Championship for the next three years,” said UMass Lowell head coach Gary Gardner. “Our experience in hosting past championships and trying to improve the championship every year hopefully makes it special for all the student-athletes that compete.”

The UMass Lowell men have won the last five NCAA East Region titles and nine of the last 11. The River Hawks moved on to the NCAA Championship every year since 2000 and finished 13th at last year’s championship in Louisville, Ky.

The River Hawk men return eight of their top nine runners for the 2011 season, including All-American Jeff Veiga (Lowell, Mass.), who won the East Region individual title last year and placed third at the NCAA Championship – the program’s best individual finish since 1991.

Also returning are All-East Region standouts Eric McDonald (Groveland, Mass.) and Danny Wang (Haverhill, Mass.), both entering their senior years.

The River Hawk women won East Region titles in 2005 and 2008 and finished runner-up each year from 2004 on until last fall, placing fifth. The finish marked the first time since 2004 UMass Lowell fell short of the NCAAs.

Similar to the men, the UMass Lowell women return five of their top seven runners, including All-East Region standout Kelly Walton (Nahant, Mass.) as well as Northeast-10 Conference all-star Nicole Skotz (Tewksbury, Mass.), both juniors.

UMass Lowell opens the 2011 season Saturday, Sept. 3 at the Keene State Invitational.