By John Albinson
This past weekend saw the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams travel both locally and not-so-locally, as they competed at two different meets (a “meet” is equivalent to what a “game” is in other sports—the more you know!) The top eight runners on the men’s and women’s sides flew out to South Bend, Indiana to compete at the National Catholic Invitational at the University of Notre Dame, while the remaining members of both squads hopped on a good ol’ reliable Silver Fox Bus and ran at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational.
The women at Notre Dame kicked off the weekend by running in the varsity race, which was a 5K, or 3.1 miles, and presumably not very fun to run in 80-degree weather. First-year student Lizzie Graves led the Crusaders by finishing 27th overall with a time of 18:28.1, while senior co-captain Hannah Jeter wasn’t far behind her, finishing in 18:33.5. Rounding out the top five for the women were senior Liz Lombardo, senior co-captain Annie Sullivan, and sophomore Jenna Gasparrini. The women finished sixth out of eleven teams, scoring 138 points—twenty less points and one place better than last year. On her impressive performance Graves said, “I was pretty nervous before the race because I didn’t know what to expect. I just went out and tried to hang on to the lead pack of girls for as long as I could. I feel better prepared to race in bigger, more competitive races.”
The men raced right after the women, running a 5-miler in the varsity race. Coming in first for the Saders (and recovering from a sickness that kept him out of the team’s first race) was sophomore Bobby Tuzzio, who finished 44th overall with a career-best time of 26:36.6. “The conditions were really humid, so to run a fast time there was awesome,” Tuzzio said about running a personal record at the meet. Right behind him was junior co-captain Joe Prunty, who posted a solid mark of 26:39.7. Sophomore Alex Campagna took third for the team, while juniors Alec Hilton and Billy Christ finished fourth and fifth, respectively. The men finished ninth out of eleven teams with a score of 244 points—55 points and one place better than last year’s showing.
At the UMass Dartmouth Invitational, the women competing in the Sub-Varsity 5K started the day by destroying the field, putting seven runners in the top 10. Led by freshman Elizabeth Larkin, the Crusaders won the race by almost 70 points (that’s a lot). In the women’s varsity race, senior Kate Spitler led the charge with an impressive 16th place finish and a season-best time of 19:06.6. Freshman Allie Walsh was close behind her, running 19:10.8. Rounding out the scoring on the women’s side was freshman Gabrielle Gioia, senior Erin Ahearn, and sophomore Deana Pileika. The women finished an astonishing fourth out of 40 teams.
Although only five men competed in the 8K (roughly 4.7 miles) at UMass Dartmouth, it was still a good showing regardless. Junior Matt Silas, less than two weeks removed from getting stitches, ran a season-best time of 27:28.9, finishing 84th overall. A tight pack of senior Tommy Kalantzakos, freshman Hayden Ivatts, and sophomore Chris Shakespeare all finished within five seconds of each other, with Kalantzakos and Shakespeare both running personal bests (27:40 and 27:45, respectively). The men ended up finishing 14th out of 40 teams. Prepare for both teams to continue to shock the nation at the Paul Short Run at Lehigh University on September 29.