By Danielle Silvia
While many students at the College spent this past Saturday, Sept. 24, in Ewing, N.J., for Parent and Family Day, the men’s and women’s cross country teams spent it in Galloway Township, N.J. competing at the Osprey Open, which was hosted by Stockton University.
The College ran its freshmen men and women’s B team this week because both A teams will be competing at the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University next week.
“We’ll only be taking 10 athletes per gender to Paul Short, so we wanted to get the rest of the team a chance to compete this weekend,” head coach Justin Lindsey said. “Stockton will be hosting the conference championships and this was a perfect opportunity to preview the course before we come back on (Thursday,) Oct. 29, to defend our conference titles.”
Despite the lack of experience, four runners of the College’s men’s team placed in the top 20 of the race, and four runners of the women’s team placed within the top 40. Both events had more than 100 runners.
While the Ramapo College Roadrunners came in first place overall, the Lions men’s team finished third out of 18 teams in the 8K race. In the 6K event, the first event of the meet, the Lions placed fifth out of the 20 teams. The home team, the Stockton University Ospreys, placed first although the College was not too far behind.
Cole Parsons was the first Lions freshman across the finish line with a time of 26:59, finishing 15th in his first 8K race for the College — a personal best marking a promising start to his collegiate career.
Lucas Pick was the next freshman to finish, placing 18th with an amazing time of 27:04. Pick was neck-and-neck with junior Ryan Aug, who finished in 19th placed with a time of 27:06.
Just behind the pair and also in the top 20 was freshman Richard Gruters, who finished in exactly 20th place at 27:08, capping off the Lions top performances. In addition, 24th overall was freshman Chris Coombs, who finished close behind Gruters with a time of 27:32.
For a lot of the freshmen, this was their first 8K race. In high school, the races are 5K.
The victor of the 8K race was Jeremey Hernandez from Ramapo College with a time of 25:46.
“I think the freshmen men competed very well,” Lindsey said. “They went out and executed the way Coach (Michael) Walker wanted, and I was pleased to see that.”
Several of the freshmen women from the College were also standouts in this meet, such as Hailey Bookwalter, who finished in 25th place overall with a time of 25:06. Close behind Bookwalter was sophomore Kathleen Jaeger in 29th place with a time of 25:13. In 33rd place was another freshman, Kiera Cullen, who closed in on the race at 25:24.
Other stars included sophomore Alyssa Kramer, who placed in fourth for the College and was 37th overall in the event. She finished with a time of 25:37, and ran closely with freshman Hannah Fay, who finished in 40th with a time of 25:53.
The winner of the 6K race was Susan Ejore from Monroe College with a time of 21:37.
“The women competed tough, but needed to be a little more competitive in the first mile and a half,” Lindsey said. “It was a learning experience for both squads, so we think it was a productive day for us.”
The next meet the Lions men and women will compete in is the Paul Short Invitational, hosted by Lehigh University, on Saturday, Oct. 1. The runners finishing in the top spots from this weekend’s meet will go onto the meet at Lehigh, as well.
“They ran well and It was really good to see them work together,” senior Brandon Mazzarella said. “We are gonna need a lot more of that to place well in the upcoming meets.”