by Eric Malave
Both Rider cross-country teams had a tough race at the Penn State National Invite last Friday.
“I felt we underperformed as a team in the meet,” said Coach Bob Hammer.
The men’s cross-country team competed in a race consisting of 20 teams, including themselves, and 222 runners.
Senior John Smith was the first to finish for Rider, placing 53rd in the race. He completed the 5.2 mile course in 27:22.
Finishing right after Smith was freshman Christian Gonzalez, who placed 77th in the race with a time of 27:45.
This is the second time Gonzalez has obtained the number two spot for Rider.
Junior Matt Dahl finished 92nd, with a time of 28:00. Next to complete the course was senior Jeff Stead, who finished the course in 28:42, and placed 115th.
Also completing the course for the Rider men were freshmen Michael Soroko and Christopher Reale, who tied for 126th, with a time of 29:08. Lastly for the Broncs, was sophomore Philip Capaldi, who placed 134th in 29:27.
The men placed 17th in the overall competition at Penn State, ahead of Syracuse University, St. Francis-PA and Bloomsburg University.
The women competed in a race of 25 teams. Overall, there were about 278 runners in the competition.
Junior Kelly Wojciehowski was the first to finish for the Rider women. She placed 119th with a time of 23:49.
“We got out really fast and there were so many people in the race that we always had people to run with,” said Wojciehowski. “Because we went out really fast it was hard for us to maintain that pace.”
Both Rider teams faced problems with keeping their pace and running together.
“I think that we could have done a lot better if we were able to group up more than we did,” said Wojciehowski.
Finishing second for Rider was junior Megan Crowe, who ran the course in 24:34, placing 148th. Shortly after, sophomore Kelsey Kohler finished the race, placing 156th with a time of 24:58.
Also competing for Rider were sophomore Lauren Lester, who was 162nd in 25:19; freshman Chelsea Callan, who placed 166th in 25:25; sophomore Kelly Dissinger, who finished 169th in 25:38; and freshman Ashley O’Brien, who finished 173rd in 26:10.
The Broncs placed last out of the 25 teams at the competition last week.
“I think we all really left there with a feeling of coming up short,” said Dahl. “It’s not that we did bad, we’re just looking for more to happen.”
Neither team performed as planned. The Broncs hoped that they could stay together for the majority of the race.
However, as the race progressed, the teams had problems executing their plan.
“We needed to be a little tougher in the middle of the race to maintain and improve upon our race positions to set ourselves up for the last mile of the race,” said Hammer. “We gave up too many spots over the last mile.”
Despite the results of last week’s race, Hammer believes that the team is ready for the MAAC Championship in a couple of weeks.
“There were a few bright spots and things that we improved upon from our last meet that give me every indication that we will be ready and prepared for the championship portion of our schedule,” said Hammer.
The Rider cross-country teams will both compete in the MAAC championship held at Van Cortlandt State Park on Oct. 26.