The Van Cortlandt Park cross country course starts off with just under a mile of flat fields before winding into a copse infamous for its hill-ridden terrain, ending in a straight shot for the finish line.
The Lions had to run this course at the Fordham University Fiasco this past Saturday, Sept. 6.
“It’s one of the toughest courses I have ever run on,” said Andrew Tedeschi, sophomore and last week’s NJAC Runner of the Week of the five-mile course.
Despite the challenge, Tedeschi placed third out of 87 runners from Division II and Division III schools with a time of 27:40.22, earning the College a first place slot in the rankings.
Two other Lions broke into the top ten — junior Scott Savage took fifth, posting a time of 27:48.00, and sophomore Brandon Mazzarella took seventh with a time of 28:00.18.
Tedeschi praised Savage and two other teammates — junior Michael Olivola, who came in 22nd with a time of 28:52.93, and senior Jeremy Garrell, the 24th placed runner with a time of 29:01.83 — stating that they “stayed really tough throughout the whole course.”
Other well-performing Lions also included senior Andrew DeMaria and junior Tyler Grimm, the 11th and 14th runners to cross the finish line, respectively. DeMaria posted a time of 28:16.36 while Grimm crossed at 28:26.53.
The women’s team also found success among the slopes of Van Cortlandt Park, placing second overall out of the Division II and III schools and boasting an impressive 32-second spread between the College’s top five runners.
Sophomore Carly Martz led the pack. She got into position in the stretch before the woods, ran the hills as well as she could, then overcame her forerunners one at a time in the final stretch.
“I felt like I had enough in me to put in a decent kick, so I focused on catching as many girls as I could,” Martz said.
The effort earned her seventh place of 113 runners and a time of 20:00.56 in the 5K run.
Also within the 32-second spread was sophomore Laura Straub, who crossed 10th with a time of 20:10.64.
She was followed by senior and last week’s NJAC Runner of the Week Tara Nealon, who took the 11th spot with a time of 20:11.21, and senior Megan Stack, who took 12th with a time of 20:17.56.
Rounding out the pack of five was senior Liz Johnson in 17th place, posting a time of 20:32.46.
The weather also proved to be a factor Saturday. While summer conditioning, a layer of clouds and a canopy of leaves helped the runners avoid being overwhelmed by the heat, as the humidity was staggering.
“It’s always tough to run in the heat because you become tired more quickly and breathing can be difficult, especially with humidity,” Stack said.
Tedeschi described the air as so “thick” and lamented that he and his teammates were “covered in sweat after the race.”
Despite the heat and the hills, the Lions still kept a positive attitude.
“With all the tough hills and the heat,” Tedeschi said, “(Saturday) proved how strong our team is.”