Waterville, ME - Three Northern Vermont University-Lyndon men's cross country runners captured North Atlantic Conference awards, as determined by conference coaches and announced on Tuesday. Freshman Anthony Pifari (Littleton, NH) was named the NAC Rookie of the Year, senior Benjamin Cornell (Burrillville, RI) was named the Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year, and senior Matt Francis (Freeport, ME) was named to the NAC Sportsmanship Team. All three runners were also named All-Conference selections, with Pifari and Cornell garnering First Team honors and Francis landing on the Second Team.
Pifari, an early childhood education major, was also named Rookie of the Week for the week ending October 28th. He earned his honors on the strenth of his second place finish in Sunday's NAC Championship race, held at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, ME. He completed the 8K course in 27:36.9, just ten seconds behind the race winner. Pifari has enjoyed an outstanding freshman season which saw him capture one Runner of the Week selection and three Rookie of the Week nods.
Cornell, a mountain recreation management major with a 3.7 GPA, was honored for his work in the classroom and on the trails. He finished in fourth place on Saturday with a time of 23:34.4, only 3.6 seconds behind the third place finisher. He also bested his previous best NAC Championship finish, a 12th place showing in 2015. He has also excelled in the classroom and had been named to the NAC All-Academic Team for both cross country and track and field. He is a three-year member of Lyndon's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is also a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, the American Canoe Association, and the lifeguard staff at NVU-Lyndon.
Francis also got into the top ten with his best ever NAC showing, finishing in 29:51.4, which was good for ninth place and just 6.5 seconds out of eighth place. His previous best was a 28th place finish last year. Selection to the NAC Sportsmanship Team is reserved for those who have distinguished themselves through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. Sportsmanship Team honorees are individuals who have positively affected the sport culture and environment and whose behavior clearly demonstrates sportsmanship and integrity.
For a complete rundown of all NAC men's cross country season honors, click HERE.
Pifari, Cornell, and Francis will lead the Hornets into the NCAA Division III New England Regional Championships on November 10th. The race will begin at 12:30 pm and be held at Bowdoin College.