By Victoria Lyons
The cross country team competed in the Penn State National Invite Saturday against some of the top nationally ranked teams, where the men placed 19th out of 27 and the women finished 29th out of 31 teams in good preparation for the MAAC Championships.
According to head coach Bob Hamer, both the men and women had the potential to succeed but came up short.
“We were disappointed with our team results,” he said. “Both teams are talented and they have been training very hard, but we did not get the results that we wanted.”
Syracuse, ranked 14th in the nation, won the men’s race, while host Penn State, who are ranked 23rd, placed second.
Villanova, ranked first in the nation, won the women’s race.
Senior Christian Gonzalez dsiplayed his ability to dominate the competition, earning fourth place amid the 263 runners, and finishing with a time of 25:30 in the 5.2 mile course.
“Chris Gonzalez had an outstanding performance,” Hamer said. “He was right with the lead pack the entire race and moved with the leaders over the last mile. The last 1,000 meters are very challenging and a few of the other runners got away, but finishing fourth overall in a meet of this caliber was fantastic.”
Also for the Rider men, junior Michael Lindner achieved a time of 27:27, placing 114th. Senior Michael Soroko finished 128th in 27:46 and sophomore Sean McCullough was 154th with a time of 28:21.
Sophomore Sean Donohue earned a time of 29:19, placing 175th, while freshman Avery Schofield came in 176th with a time of 29:23.
For the Rider women, junior Heather Giovagnoli finished the 6,000-meter course in 23:06, coming in 127th out of the 304 runners, while sophomore Erin Fitzgibbons earned a time of 23:50, finishing 164th.
“Heather Giovagnoli and Erin Fitzgibbons really stepped up with fine efforts on Saturday,” Hamer said. “Unfortunately, they struggled a bit up the final hills but this experience should help them down the road to conquer the last portion of the race.”
Senior Chelsea Callan placed 138th in 23:17, while sophomore Jillian Shutt came in 182nd with a time of 24:19.
Additionally, junior Kelli Kaelin was 198th in 24:44, while sophomore Nicole Tassello finished 210th, earning a time of 25:07.
“We will continue to work hard and I am hopeful that we will have a much better result at the conference championship in a few weeks,” Hamer said.
The Broncs will compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship on Friday, Oct. 29, in Madison, Conn.