Sophomore cross country runners Andrew Marston (Wayne, Pa.) and Casey Comber (Maple Glen, Pa.) competed as individuals at the NCAA Championships and tallied strong finishes at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park on Saturday morning. Marston finished 55th overall and Comber was 69th in a field of 250 runners.
This is the second straight year that Marston has been an individual qualifier for the NCAA meet. He covered the 10,000 meter course in the national championship race in 30:14.65, and his 55th place finish is 91 spots better than where he came in last season. Marston had a strong sophomore campaign for Villanova and was the team’s top finisher at both the Penn State National Open and the BIG EAST Championships. He tallied second place overall finishes at each of those meets, as well as at the season-opening Main Line Invitational.
Comber made his debut at the NCAA Championships and also capped off a 2017 campaign in which he made significant strides forward. He began the year by winning the individual title at the Main Line meet and he also was the Wildcats top finisher with an eighth place showing at the Paul Short Run. Comber also came in third at the BIG EAST Championships and sixth at the Penn State National Open. He posted a time of 30:25.12 in Saturday’s 10K race.
An upstart Villanova team, which had seven runners in its top nine who were in their first or second year of cross country eligibility, came on strong during the second half of the season. After a 14th place finish at the Paul Short Run when the team was without its full lineup, the Wildcats came in third at Penn State, the BIG EAST Championships and last week’s NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional.
Villanova finished ahead of Georgetown and Penn at the regional meet, teams that were ranked first and third in the Mid-Atlantic Region entering the meet. Comber and Marston placed second and third, respectively, at the regional to earn individual qualifying spots for Saturday’s championship meet.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS
Andrew Marston 55th of 250 30:14.65 Casey Comber 69th 30:25.12