Lions prepare for NJACs in Connecticut Invitational

The men’s and women’s cross-country teams continued their 2010 campaigns at the Connecticut College Invitational, held at Harkness Memorial State Park. Both teams had robust finishes, as the men’s team placed third out of 20 teams, while the women’s team placed fourth out of 18 teams.

“I think this meet in particular brought us together as a team and showed us that we’re going to have to work in order to do as well as we want in the next few weeks,” sophomore Danielle Aran said. “Even if it takes a few painful workouts, I think we’re all willing to do what it takes in order to keep the New Jersey Cross Country tradition alive.”

The men’s side was led by senior TJ Bocchino as he finished the 8K the quickest with a time of 25:27, placing him first out of 225 competitors. Other impressive finishes by the Lions belonged to junior Rob Nihen and sophomore Andy Gallagher. Nihen crossed the finish line at 11th with a time of 26:02, while Gallagher finished 34th with a time of 26:43. Furthermore, Dominic Tasco had an impressive finish for a freshman, finishing 49th with a time of 26:56.

“As I finished, I knew I ran strong for the team. I just really wanted to know how we did overall, because every race counts,” Tasco said.

On the women’s side, sophomore Rachel Morris finished the 6K the quickest for the Lions. She finished with a time of 23:21, good for 11th out of 199 competitors. In addition, fellow sophomore Danielle Aran also had a strong finish with a time of 23:26, placing her in 15th place. Freshman Megan Flynn continued her excellent rookie campaign as she finished with a time of 23:56, finishing 35th.

“As I finished the race I was already thinking ahead to our next meet, our conference NJAC championship, where we will be challenged by Rowan for the NJAC title that has been won by (the College) for years,” Morris said. “There were two girls ahead of me as I ran toward the finish line, and I made sure that I passed both of them, in practice for NJACs, where every little point is going to make a big difference.”

The Connecticut College Invitational was a great event to build off of for the men and women. From this event, the men and women will use this as a stepping-stone, as they both begin their quest to continue their NJAC championship streaks at 16 and 15, respectively.

“Our team has been preparing for NJACs all season. In fact, it has been one of our main focuses. Other than that, we are just focusing on getting in good workouts and runs, and taking care of ourselves as best we can in preparation of our conference meet next weekend,” Morris said.

The men’s and women’s cross-country teams resume their seasons on Saturday Oct. 30, at Richard Stockton College as they compete in the NJAC Championships.