Lions’ cross country team show strength in numbers

After having a bye week, the Lions were back in action at the Mainline Invitational, only the second meet of the 2006 season. In a non-team-scoring match, the men and women’s teams each competed with six other colleges. Both teams are currently ranked in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division III poll, with the women ranked sixth and the men 12th.

In the women’s races, the Lions had six runners finish in the top 20. Sophomore Martine McGrath led the pack in the three-mile event. McGrath was the highest placer for the Lions as she finished second in 17:54.

Following behind was sophomore Megan O’Leary in third place, stopping the clock at 18:03. Swarming in at 10th place was senior Jenna Fasulo, who finished in 18:22, and junior Jenna Prendergrast closed the gap in 12th place in 18:27.

Sophomore Stephanie Herrick and junior Sara Best followed the pack right behind each other placing 19th and 20th, respectively. Herrick finished 18:57 while Best crossed the line at 18:59.

“Everyone ran a lot faster than last year,” Herrick said. “Things are looking good. We still want to get better and make the pack tighter.”

Sophomore Nicole Ullmeyer finished 24th with 19:16 and junior Heather Garleb followed in 28th in 19:34.

Senior Allyson Krayl finished 32nd in 19:40 and placing 36th, 37th and 38th was senior Christine Nystrom in 19:44, freshman Valerie Bonczek in 19:44 and freshman Michelle Wallace in 19:45, respectively. Bringing in the pack was freshman Kelly Cahill placing 46th in 20:17 and sophomore Justine Carnevale coming in 51st with a time of 20:39.

“The women have made huge improvements from last year, Martine McGrath especially,” head coach Phil Jennings said. “She has shown great improvement. Sara Best and Megan O’Leary have made huge leaps.”

“Working hard in practice, having everyone step up and work hard during the race to close the gap between them and the teammate ahead of them, is how the Lions should prevail and have a great season,” Herrick said. Each Lion had an impressive finish as there were 84 runners who placed. The Lions finished in the top 50.

In men’s action, sophomore Chris Guerriero was the top finisher for the men, placing 12th in 20:16.

“We have a young group of guys who are so talented,” Guerriero said. “It is going to be a big battle to see who is going to be in the top seven in the regional competition. There is so much depth to our team.”

Josh Krowicki showed his talent by placing 16th and young freshman Brandon Rodkewitz finished 25th in 20:37.

Senior Greg Howe placed 29th in 20:46 and sophomore Greg Bull followed in 32nd with a time of 20:49. Bringing in the pack was junior Steve Kinney in 38th in 20:59 and freshman Steven Klett in 57th with a time of 21:26.

“The competition for top seven for the regional competition will be a friendly one,” Jennings said.

The team graduated only two seniors last year, leaving the Lions young and ready to fight. The next meet contains teams in Division I and II. The Lions will be ready to go out and show how hard they have worked early on in the season.

The Lions compete at the Paul Shourt Invitational this Friday at Lehigh University.