Harper Cross Country “crosses the finish line” of the season at nationals


Fiona Metzo poses with head coach Jim Macnider and assistant coaches John Majerus, Eric Waller and Diane after winning All-American at Milledgeville, GA on November 13, 2021. Photo courtesy of Harper’s Cross Country team.

Fiona Metzo, a member of the Harper women’s cross country team, ranked fourth in the annual NJCAA Division III National Championship race, which gained her the title of an All-American athlete.  To gain the All-American title, a runner must be ranked in the top fifteen out of all the runners. 


“I was very fortunate to have my best race this season and feel good the entire race, especially for my final race,” Metzo described competing at nationals.


Metzo did not expect to receive the results that she did but expressed how happy she was that she got fourth place and how grateful she was for the support that the rest of the Harper cross country team gave her. This is Metzo’s first year on the Harper cross country team, and she will be back next season with the hope of improving her time and speed. 


However, Metzo is not the only member of the cross country team hoping to improve and gain the All-American title next season. Sammy Lagunas, the top runner for Harper men’s cross country team,  has commented on how eager he is to work harder to get top fifteen. Lagunas ranked 19th in this year’s National Championships, coming close to the 15th rank requirement to receive All-American. 


Overall, Metzo and Lagunas were competing to collect team points and get declared National Champions, which requires the team to rank in the top three out of all the teams present at the race.


Harper competed with all the NJCAA Division III schools in the country in Milledgeville, Georgia, on Nov. 13, 2021. Including Harper, there were 18 men cross country teams, consisting of 140 runners, while there were 11 women teams, with 90 runners. The men’s team gained a total of 219 points as a team and placed ninth out of the 18 schools, while the women’s team placed fifth out of the 11 schools. 


Harper’s 2021 cross-country team consists of seven men and five women.


On the men’s team (in order of times placed):


  1. Sammy Lagunas (Freshman) with a time of  27:51.5 minutes ranked 19th.


  1. Jose Sierra-Ocampo (Sophomore) with a time of  28:39.7 minutes ranked 38th.


  1. Remy Jankusky (Freshman) with a time of 29:03.7 minutes ranked 43rd.


  1. Nick Methner (Sophomore) with a time of 29:37.3 minutes ranked 60th.


  1. Micheal Trajkovich (Freshman) with a time of 31:20.1 minutes ranked 93rd.


  1. Adam Toren (Freshman) with a time of 32:14.1 minutes ranked 102nd.


  1. Jan-Mathew Bautista (Sophomore) with a time of 34:38.1 minutes ranked 117.


On the women’s team: 


  1. Fiona Metzo (Freshman) with a time of 20:17.6 minutes ranked 4th.


  1. Karen Patino-Rodriguez (Freshman) with a time of 22:38.1 minutes ranked 30th.


  1. Michelle Weber (Sophomore) with a time of 23:11.9 minutes ranked 39th.


  1. Alexandra Malagon (Sophomore) with a time of 23:59.8 minutes ranked 49th.


  1. Danielle Giovenco (Freshman) with a time of 24:01.6 minutes ranked 50th.