By Victoria Lyons
The cross country team competed in the MAAC Championships at Van Cortlandt State Park in New York last Friday, with the men finishing third out of nine teams and the women claiming fifth out of 10 teams.
The Rider men really pulled through, according to Head Coach Bob Hamer.
“They executed the race plan perfectly by putting themselves in with our competition and running strong through the back hills of the course,” he said. “The men finished very strongly over the last 2,000 meters, which was the key for our high placing.”
Junior Christian Gonzalez finished 12th out of the 127 runners, and junior Michael Soroko was right behind him in 13th place. Gonzalez ran the 8K course in 26:49.3, while Soroko ran it in 26:56.9.
“They both ran the most complete races that they have run all season,” Hamer said. “They have been waiting to put together a race like this for some time.”
Sophomore Michael Lindner was also one of the strong finishers, placing 25th in 27:32.7.
Other top finishers from the Rider men were freshman Sean McCullough placing 38th in 28:01.9, his brother senior Robert McCullough taking 48th in 28:61.1, freshman Sean Donohue claiming 66th in 28:48.6, and freshman Greg Wesh finishing 67th in 28:55.3.
For the Rider women, it was more of a struggle, but junior Chelsea Callan managed to finish the 6K course in 24:26.7, placing 14th out of the 121 runners.
“She established good position early in the race and she always has a strong finish,” said Hamer.
Freshmen Victoria Lima and Jillian Shutt also represented for the Rider women with Lima finishing 27th in 24:58.7 and Shutt placing 31st in 25:03.8.
“We were hoping for a higher team placing, but we have been battling some illness on the team during the week that slightly affected our team finish,” said Hamer. “The women raced real well and competed admirably, but we fell a little short of our team goal.”
Other top finishers from the Rider women were senior Kelsey Kohler placing 40th in 25:32.4, junior Ashley O’Brien claiming 53rd in 25:44.8, sophomore Kristen Perrine finishing 54th in 25:46.1 and sophomore Laura Staples taking 60th in 26:07
There were also men and women from the Rider cross country team who received MAAC All-Academic team honors. For the men it was Lindner, Soroko and sophomore David South. For the women it was Callan, Kohler, O’Brien, Perrine, Staples and sophomore Kelli Kaelin.
“Individually, the team had some great races and we look forward to our next competition,” said Hamer.
Next up for the men and women’s cross country team is the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional on Saturday, Nov. 14 in Princess Anne, Md.
By Victoria Lyons