Florida is a major place for recreation, and it is fun for people of all ages. However, for the Rider cross country team, it was all business in the MAAC Championships this past weekend.
The women’s team came in a best-ever second place out of 10 and the men came in fifth out of 10.
“I knew the women were ready to compete,” Head Coach Bob Hamer said to Rider Sports Information. “The men lost too much ground on the second big loop through the woods.”
Both the men’s and women’s competition was ruled once again by Iona. The Gaels’ men’s team won for the 18th consecutive year, while the women took home their fourth straight gold.
Highlights for the women included senior Megan Crowe’s seventh-place performance, as she ran the 6,000-meter course in little more than 22 minutes, and senior Kelly Wojciehowski, who placed eighth out of 123 women, finishing right behind Crowe, with a time of 22:38.17.
“They both ran really well today,” Hamer said to Rider Sports Information. “Kelly does much better on a varied terrain, and this course was flat, so this was not her type of course, but she overcame that and did awesome.”
Both Crowe and Wojciehowski received All-MAAC honors — Wojciehowski’s second straight year to receive the honor.
As for Crowe, it was a huge improvement from her performance in last year’s championship meet when she placed 37th.
“Everything clicked this year,” Crowe said to Rider Sport Information. “I guess this year I had some inspiration from the Phillies. The weather was great. Realizing this was my last year I just wanted to make the most of it so I really committed myself, lifestyle and all, working toward this day. It was a good way to go out. My goal was to break 23 minutes and I came close twice this year (23:01 and 23:08) but this was the first time. My goal for the team was to improve to third place, so this was a pleasant surprise.”
Also for the Rider women, freshman Heather Giovagnoli placed 14th with a time of 22:56.18 to earn All-MAAC honors as well.
On the men’s team, sophomore Christian Gonzalez came in seventh, running 8,000 meters in a little under 25 minutes, earning All-MAAC honors.
“I felt like I could have done better,” Gonzalez said to Rider Sports Information. “This was a fast course, but I’m happy with my place. Hanging with the Iona runners tells me I can hang with anybody.”
Also for the Rider men, senior Matt Dahl placed 22nd with a time of 26:18.84 while junior Robert McCullough came in two spots behind, finishing 24th with a time of 26:39.64.
Iona dominated the standings at the MAAC Championships, having all top five slots sealed up.
However, Rider did come away with some prestigious titles. The Broncs had three All-MAAC runners on the women’s team, and seven Broncs were accepted into the MAAC All-Academic team for having a GPA of 3.20 or higher.
The Broncs’ next obstacle is the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, which will be held right down the road in Princeton.