By Charles Guthrie
Last weekend, the men’s and women’s cross country teams took part in the MAAC Championships at Van Cortlandt Park in Riverdale, N.Y.
The men finished in third place out of 10 teams, while the women finished seventh out of 10.
“The real achievement was our third-place finish as a team,” senior John Smith said. “As a group we have been working to achieve this throughout my whole career and it felt great to finally achieve it.”
Smith finished first for the Broncs with an overall time of 26:07.8, finishing in 14th place overall and earning All-MAAC honors in the eight-mile race. This is the third time in his career that he earned the prestigious honor, which is awarded to the top 15 finishers on each side.
“It was the best effort that I’ve had all season and it was the best time that I ever ran on the course so I was happy with that,” he said. “It felt really good to be All-MAAC again this year. I was hurt last season so one of my goals was to get back to that level. It was even more special since I had to run my personal best in order to achieve it.”
Smith wasn’t the only All-MAAC recipient for the Broncs.Junior Kelly Wojciehowski also received the honor with a 13th- place finish on the women’s side in the six-mile race.
“It was a goal of mine to be All-MAAC and I’ve come close the past two years,” Wojciehowski said. “Getting 13th accomplished my goal, but sets me up to strive for the top 10 next year.”
She was the first to finish for the Broncs on the women’s team with a time of 23:26.2. Last year she finished in 20th place with a time of 21:23.41.4.
“During the race I felt really confident,” she said. “I got out a little slower than I usually do that helped me throughout the rest of the race. During the middle of the race where most of the hills were, I just kept working hard and tried to be as aggressive as I could be on the hills.”
“Getting All-MAAC was one of my goals this year,” Wojciehowski told Rider Sports Information. “My first mile was a bit slower than usual, so I felt more comfortable in the middle of the race.”
On the men’s side, freshman Christian Gonzalez came in 16th place with a time of 26:14.4, just missing out on earning All-MAAC honors.
Junior Matt Dahl finished in 18th place with a time of 26:42.3, senior Jeff Stead had a 25th place finish at 27:08.1, and freshman Christopher Reale came in 30th with a time of 27:17.1. As a team, Rider’s time was 2:13:29.7.
“We had a lot of our younger guys step it up for us, which really paid off and is the reason why we moved from third to fifth,” Smith said.
For the women, sophomore Kelsey Kohler came in second with a time of 24:28.4, good for 27th place. Junior Megan Crowe came in 37th with a time of 24:59.6, sophomore Lauren Lester finished in 40th with a time of 25:08.5, and freshman Chelsea Callan had a time of 25:12.0 for 42nd place.
Last year, both teams placed fifth in the event.
Iona dominated at the MAACs as both teams came in first place.
The men’s team won the race for the 17th consecutive year. Junior Mohamed Khadraoui won top spot with a time of 25:10.9. Iona had the top four finishers in the race and finished as a team with a time of 2:06:39.9.
The Iona women’s team won its third straight at the MAAC Championships. Junior Plank McKayla won the race with a time of 21:34.6.
Both teams will take part in the Mid-Atlantic Regional hosted by Lehigh University on Nov. 10.