By George Tatoris Staff Writer
Men’s and women’s cross country dominated the Delaware University International this Saturday, Sept. 12, using pack running to powerful effect against their contenders, which included conference rivals Rowan University.
Pack running is a tactic that involves running in groups with teammates of a similar skill level, which helps with pacing and boosts runners’ morale.
The College cinched the first five spots in the men’s race and in the women’s race — while the top two finishers were from Delaware University — a pack of Lions in third through sixth pushed the College ahead of second place Delaware University by six points.
Junior Andrew Tedeschi led the front pack with a finish time of 26:55.21. Senior Roberto Guiducci followed a little less than a second behind with a time of 26:56.19. Behind him, sophomore Dale Johnson closed in at 27:02.11 for a third place finish. Senior Jon Stouber took fourth with a time of 27.11.06. Senior Tyler Grimm rounded out the pack in fifth with a time of 27:12.54.
The men’s sweep was “really incredible especially against Rowan, who is our main competitor in the conference,” Grimm said. “It’s a testament to our training so far. Our pack running was tremendous today.”
The Lions paced themselves at first, and found themselves in the top pack with a single Rowan runner. Using hills and turns to their advantage, the pack of Lions broke away, using teamwork to move ahead as a group.
It took less than 20 seconds for all five Lions to cross the finish line together. A tight spread like that will come in handy in later meets, Grimm said.
The men finished with just 15 points — where the lowest score indicates a win. The astounding win was more than 40 points less than second place Rowan.
Pack running also played a part in the women’s team’s first place finish.
Heading the pack in third place was freshman Madeline Tattory with a finishing time of 23:50.69. Less than half a second behind Tattory, freshman Erin Holzbaur finished in fourth with a time of 23:51.17. In fifth, senior Marissa Lerit finished with a time of 24:01.23 and in sixth, freshman Emma Bean finished with a time of 24:02.89.
Also in the top 10 was freshman Abigail Faith, who was eighth with a time of 24:15.28.
“It was a lot of fun seeing so many of us place in the top ten,” Tattory said.
This meet was Tattory’s first glimpse at pack running outside of training. Pack running wasn’t stressed as much in her high school and wasn’t required as much in last week’s Blue/Gold Invitational.
It took all four women Lions less than 15 seconds to cross the finish line together.
According to Guiducci, the course was “one of the tougher ones” he has run in college. The White Clay Creek State Park course in Newark, Del., starts by going downhill, and then turns into rolling hills the rest of the way.
Tattory said it was “more of a cross country course” and “a lot harder” than the one at Rosedale Park in Hopewell, N.J., which was the venue of last week’s less competitive Blue/Gold Invitational.
In addition to the difficult hills, the course was marked with only faint white lines to direct runners. As a result, senior Scott Savage — who was leading by a few seconds — made a wrong turn which he had to correct, according to teammate Grimm. Savage finished 10th with a time of 27:38.05.
If not for that wrong turn, Grimm believed that the College could have taken the top six spots in the race.
“We are a pack team,” said Guiducci, “that is one of our strengths. We work off each other’s energy in the race.”