Today: Jun 25, 2024

Women’s cross country wins first title, Men repeat

Luke Gadson – Sports Editor

It was a great weekend for the Owls as both the men’s and women’s cross country teams took on tough competition at the NE10 conference championships hosted by American International College at Stanley Park on Sunday Oct. 22.  

The men’s cross country team clinched first place at the NE-10 Conference Championships. The Owls had seven runners finish in the top 20 and five runners finish in the top 15. This is the men’s team’s second consecutive NE10 title, following their title in 2022.  

Winning the conference championship in 2022, Coach Brian Nill knew that it would be difficult to repeat, but the men’s team used that as motivation. “We talk about it all the time; it’s almost harder winning a second time. You have this level of success early on that is hard to repeat year after year, but it definitely helps motivation-wise because everyone wants to get back to that point,” said Nill. One thing Nill stressed to this team as they prepared for the championship was having the smallest spread possible in between the team’s first and fifth runners. The men’s team brought this to action with three runners finishing in the top 5 and four in the top 10. 

Jonathan Volpe, a junior, finished second overall with a time of 25:11.80, earning him First Team All-Conference Honors alongside Jeremy Rivera, a sophomore, and Owen Gagne, a junior, who finished fourth and fifth place overall. William Lamburn, a sophomore, finished ninth overall and Sean Barkasy, a sophomore, finished 11th overall, earning them Second Team All-Conference Honors. Finishing in 16th and 17th place were Sophonias Dires, a junior, and Luca Cazzaniga, a junior, qualifying them for Third Team All-Conference Honors. 

The university’s women’s cross country team also clinched first place at the NE-10 Conference Championships on Sunday. This is the first time in program history that the Owls won the title. The university is also the third school in the conference to win both the men’s and women’s NE10 championships in the same season since 2000.  

Coming into the NE10 championships, the women’s team was ranked first in week five of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association East Regional Rankings, as announced on Tuesday, Oct. 10. This is the Owls’ highest in-season ranking ever in USTFCCCA East Region Rankings and they definitely used this to fuel them. “This is the first time we’ve ever been ranked that high in the history of the program. So, excitement-wise it has been a nice ride for them. But, I think they also understand that what is on paper isn’t always reality, so they understand they have to go out there and actually do it,” said Nill. 

The women’s team lived up to their expectations, as they topped the conference for the first time in history. 

Briana Grecco, a junior, finished sixth overall with a time of 22:36.70 to earn herself First Team All-Conference Honors. Courtney Henchcliffe, a sophomore, Megan Whitnell, a junior, and PJ Dauphinais, a freshman, all received Second Team All-Conference Honors, finishing ninth, 10th and 12th. Emilie Noreika, a freshman, finished in 17th place to earn herself Third Team All-Conference Honors. 

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