By Andrew Grossman
Saturday marked the opener for both the men’s and women’s cross country squads as the College hosted the Blue/Gold Classic at Rosedale Park. Both teams finished third overall in the event as well as first for Division III schools.
“Our team did really well at the race,” sophomore Tara Nealon said. “For being a D-III team, I think we had a really good showing.”
This 5K race was a good tune-up for the Lions as they were simply looking to get settled into the new year. With two Division I schools in the fold (Rider University and St. Joseph’s University), the field was very competitive.
“It’s really just a chance for us to get out there and to see every situation and to see where we are,” head coach Phil Jennings said. “Rider and Saint Joe’s University were there so right now we are not that concerned on where we stack up at this point, this early (in the season).”
Junior Julie Jablonski led the Lions with a sixth overall finish at 19:09.90. Senior Cathy Goncalves was right behind her in ninth with a time of 19:16.70. Nealon was not too far behind in 14th at 19:43.00.
“We really didn’t lose too many seniors from last year so we have a really good core group of girls returning,” she said. “(This helps our team because) we also have very good chemistry which makes us push each other in workouts (that much harder).”
The College had three more runners round out the top 20. Sophomore Jillian Manzo was 16th at 19:49.90, junior Anginelle Alabanza clocked in at 19:59.20, which was good for 19th place and junior Megan Flynn got 20th with a time of 20:01.60.
“(During the race) we all tried to stay as a team and as a pack today,” Nealon said. “We all ran really well together and our times were good because we pushed each other to stay together.”
For the men, junior Dominic Tasco was the top Lion, coming in ninth at a time of 15:57.30. Senior Andy Gallagher was one place behind him at 16:06.10. Seniors Michael Berti and Mark Sidebottom finished back-to-back at 16:12.20 and 16:15.90. Finally, juniors Ryan Ure and James Seyffart took the last two places in the top 20 with times of 16:20.50 and 16:20.70 respectively.
“We lost a number of seniors to graduation, but the underclassmen have really stepped it up,” Jennings said. “We should have a pretty solid team. I think we can have a better season than last year’s team, if not then, to at least match it.”
With eight freshmen joining the squad this year, the men have high hopes in filling some of the missing spots. After their results in Rosedale Park however, they are not worried.
“Overall, I thought the meet went really well,” Nealon said. “We all worked really hard so it was a great way to start the season.”
The Lions return to action in the University of Rochester Pre-Regional on Saturday, Sept. 15.