(Posted October 14, 2006)

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Facing off against nearly all the teams that they will see in two weeks at the MAC Championships, the Juniata College men\'s and women\'s cross country teams sent strong messages that they can compete with the top teams in the conference as both squads earned top-seven finishes at the DeSales Invitational Saturday afternoon. The Juniata women\'s team placed fifth among 24 schools in the race and were behind just a pair of MAC programs while the men\'s team was seventh out of 20 teams and also had just two MAC teams place in front of them. WOMENâ??S The women\'s team scored 141 points in the meet to place fifth, and were just 11 points behind fourth-place MAC rival Messiah College. Juniata\'s top runner on the day was Elena Amato (Notre Dame Prep./Baltimore, Md.) who placed 14th and ran a time of 25:22.55. Just a few seconds behind her was Meghan Jones (Meadville/Meadville) who ran to a 17th-place finish with a time of 25:30.46. Aubrey Cyphert was next across the line for the Blue and Gold as she placed 23rd, giving the Eagles three top-25 finishers in the race. Cyphert ran a time of 25:39.96. Juniata\'s fourth runner was Lia Bella (Morris Catholic/Rockaway, N.J.) who placed 32nd with a time of 25:55.94. Rounding out the top five for Juniata was Kristen Gochnauer (Warwick/Lititz) who came across the line in 59th position by running a time of 26:57.95. The overall winner on the women\'s side was Paige Jablonski of Marywood who covered the course in a time of 24:02.41. MENâ??S The Juniata men finished the race with 173 points as a team to earn their seventh-place finish. The Eagles were just seven points behind MAC opponent Lebanon Valley. Shawn Rumery (Thornton Academy/Dayton, Maine) was Juniata\'s top runner in the men\'s race as he posted a time of 27:48.80 to earn a 21st-place finish. Just two spots and less than a second behind him was freshman Matthew Bailey (Hempfield/East Petersburg) who placed 23rd and covered the course in a time of 27:49.74. Juniata\'s third runner was Mike Chirdon (Riverview/Verona) whose time of 28:23.79 was good for a 39th-place finish. Eric Hoover (Brandywine/Wilmington, Del.) ran to a 42nd-place finish in the race and posted a time of 28:29.94. Rounding out the top-five for the Eagles was Jason Hoover (Brandywine/Wilmington, Del.) who was 60th overall and clocked in with a time of 29:05.10. Alex Mercado of Muhlenberg won the men\'s race with a time of 26:30.15. Juniata will host its own meet this coming Friday which will be a dual meet between Juniata and Penn State-Altoona. ###

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