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      Pitone & McDermott Compete at NCAA Cross Country Championships; Pitone Places Second

      Ernie Pitone

      Senior Ernie Pitone crosses the finish line at the NCAA Cross Country Championship race.

      Senior Ernie Pitone of the Widener University men's cross country team earned All-America laurels at the NCAA Division III Championships held Saturday, Nov. 19 at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park.

      Battling through cold and windy conditions, Pitone garnered NCAA All-America status for the second straight year by navigating the 8,000-meter circuit in 24:09 to place second overall among a competitive field of 280 runners. The senior held off Tim Nichols of Tufts University by seven one-hundredths of a second to earn the runner-up position, which was also the highest finish in program history since Macharia Yuot won the national title in 2006.

      Like Pitone, senior Will McDermott also competed at the national event for the third straight season and punched in a time of 25:17.2. He placed 76th overall after finishing 80th as a junior in 2015 and 142nd during his sophomore campaign two seasons ago.

      University of Wisconsin-Platteville's Ian LaMere won the individual title for the second straight season by hitting the tape in 23:40.4, while Northcentral University captured its fifth team crown in the last nine years and 17th overall to continue its dominance on the national landscape.

      Pitone and McDermott completed two of the most decorated careers in the history of the Widener men's cross country program. Both runners helped the Pride capture four straight Middle Atlantic Conference titles by factoring into the scoring every season, and they also finished first and second individually during the last two years at the league's championship meet. Furthermore, Pitone ended his career as a three-time conference champion, a regional champion and the second student-athlete in program history to garner NCAA All-America recognition multiple times.


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