HOLMDEL, NJ — The Iona College men’s cross country team earned its 24th straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship Friday afternoon at Holmdel Park. The Gaels swept the title with a perfect score of 15 as the first nine runners to cross the line wore Maroon & Gold. The win extended NCAA Division I’s longest active conference championship streak.
Senior Jake Byrne crossed the line first as the individual MAAC Champion. Iona’s top seven runners fished the 8k course within a second of each other. His time of 25:30.38 was two-hundredths of a second ahead of junior Otis Ubriaco (25:30.40), six-hundredths in front of rookie Gilbert Kirui (25:30.44), and 23-hundredths faster than sophomore Kieran Clements (25:30.61), the defending individual champion. Red shirt freshman Brandon Allen was fifth, just 27-hundreths of a second behind Byrne. Junior Michael O’Dowd finished sixth (25:30.72) followed by red shirt freshmen Chartt Miller (25:31.21) and Andrew Tario (25:33.83) and senior Nick Lachman (25:35.20) rounded out the top nine.
Byrne became the 13th straight Gael to win the individual title and 19th all-time. An Iona student-athlete has won the race 29 times in the 34-year history of the race. It was the Gaels eighth perfect 15 during their current stretch of 24 straight championships. The Maroon & Gold swept the top five positions in 1992, 1995, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2013.
Canisius finished second with 66 points, with its top two scorers placing 10th and 11th at the event.
The Gaels continue their championship season in two weeks at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship at Van Cortlandt Park. The No. 5 ranked Gaels look to earn its first regional championship since 2012.