Men’s and women’s cross country run to success at Boston College

| 9/28/15 7:39pm

The men’s and women’s cross country teams continued on the road toward the Ivy League Championships and NCAA National Championships with a strong performance at the Boston College Coast-to-Coast Battle at Beantown this past Friday, Sept. 25, at Franklin Park in Boston. The men’s team finished second out of a field of 21 teams, while the women’s team finished eighth out of a field of 24.

The men’s team was pleased with their second-place finish against top teams such as No. 3 Syracuse University, men’s head coach and track and field director Barry Harwick, as well as other Ivy League teams such as Harvard University, Cornell University and Brown University.

“The goals this season are to win the Ivy League Championships and qualify for NCAA Nationals as a team, and this performance really reinforced those goals,” Harwick said. “It’s still really early in the season, and if we continue to put in the work, these goals are very reasonable and achievable for us.”

Leading the way for the Big Green men was Curtis King ’16, whose strong second race coming off a foot injury garnered him an eighth-place finish in 24:11.5 over the 8-kilometer distance. Brian Masterson ’16, fresh off of his strong win at the Dartmouth Invitational, finished 12th in 24:17.8. Peter Geithner ’16, who led the pack of Dartmouth runners for much of the race, finished in 14th in 24:21.4.

“[King] bounced back really well and he was in there with the best guys in the race,” Harwick said. “Geithner, one of our co-captains, ran what was arguably his best cross country race. It was very positive for him to be with the leaders for much of the race, and it was very helpful for the Dartmouth guys to see each other and work together throughout the race.”

Rounding out the top five scoring runners were Joe Chapin ’16, 15th in 24:24.7 and Nat Adams ’17, 18th in 24:27.1.

“After I finished, I turned around to see [Masterson] and [Geithner] across the finish line, and then I went berserk when I saw [Chapin] and [Adams] finishing right behind us,” King said. “We’ve never packed up so well with this team in a major race.”

The women’s team also turned in a strong performance, although they came away from the meet desiring more.

Dana Giordano ’16 continued her strong cross country season as the team’s low stick, turning in a sixth-place finish in 17:10.9 over the shorter 5-kilometer distance. Helen Schlachtenhaufen ’17 and Liz Markowitz ’16 finished 35th in 17:46.2 and 36th in 17:46.4, respectively. Rounding out the top five Big Green scoring runners were sophomores Leigh Moffett ’18 (46th, 17:53.2) and Kennedy Jensen ’18 (57th, 17:59.1). Reid Watson ’16 (61st, 18:02.2), Olivia Lantz ’19 (63rd, 18:02.9) and Bridget O’Neill ’18 (67th, 18:06.2) also turned in strong performances.

“Our sophomores have continued to improve and are running very well,” women’s head coach Courtney Jaworski said of Moffett and Jensen’s performances. “I was also very impressed with Olivia Lantz, she’s only a freshman but ran a great race. Dana [Giordano] ran a very solid race — she was moving up the whole way and taking charge.”

Both coaches emphasized the favorable weather conditions and how fast the course ran.

“We knew it would be a fast day after watching the women’s race,” Harwick said. “I made sure to tell the guys to mentally prepare for a fast pace. The first mile was a good 10 seconds faster than at [the Dartmouth Invitational]. They did a good job of getting off the starting line well.”

Jaworski said the women’s improvement compared to the previous year, but acknowledged that she believes the runners could have pushed themselves more.

“If you look at this year’s results, we ran better than we did last year,” Jaworski noted. “All but one person ran 30 seconds to one minute faster. The numbers show that we ran better than we did last year, but I feel like we definitely had more left in the tank. We did a good job of running but not a good job of racing.”

The coaching staff was very pleased with how the men’s and women’s teams ran their races, maintaining a tight pack of runners and sticking together in a large race.

“We did a great job of packing up. We had more or less eight people in a really tight pack in the first mile [to] mile and a half,” Jaworski said. “That pack started a little further back than we would have liked, but they did good job of moving up.”

The men’s and women’s teams will split up for the next few weeks. The top seven runners will continue training for the Wisconsin Invitational on Oct. 16 in Madison, Wisconsin, which historically assembles one of the strongest fields in what will resemble a preview of the NCAA National Championships in November. The rest of the team will race next at the New England Championships on Saturday, Oct. 10.

“It gives the youngest guys a chance to race well,” Harwick said of the New England Championships. “It also allows us to see who can run at [the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships] since we get to run 12 guys, and there are five more spots.”

The New England Championships are scheduled to begin on Oct. 10 at 12 p.m. at Franklin Park in Boston.