By Miguel Gonzalez
The men’s and women’s cross country teams had a busy opening weekend. On Friday, Sept. 1, the Lions competed at the Houghton Short Course Twilight Invitational. Then on Saturday, Sept. 2, the Lions competed against Division I teams at Rosedale Park in Pennington, New Jersey. Both teams came in first at Houghton, New York.
The men swept the competitors as they claimed six of the top eight spots. Junior Matt Saponara led the Lions and finished in third place with a time of 15:45.0. Senior Dale Johnson came in one second behind Saponara.
The women were more dominant as they represented five of the top six places. Junior Erin Holzbaur crossed the finish line in second place with a time of 14:51.2. Junior Natalie Cooper ran behind Holzbaur and claimed third place with a time of 15:02.1.
“The goal for the Houghton Invitational was to work on our pack running strategy,” said head coach Justin Lindsey. “I think we executed it well and we will continue to work on this as the season progresses.”
At the Blue/Gold Invitational in Rosedale Park on Saturday, the Lions excelled against Division I schools such as Rider University, St. Joseph’s University and the University of Pennsylvania. Freshman Matthew Kole ran the Lions fastest time, finishing in 15:53.82. Junior Quinn Wasko followed Kole with a time of 16:10.03. A second later, freshman Pelle Nogueira completed the race at 16:11.16.
For the lady Lions, freshman Mary Kate Bailey had a solid debut. She finished with a time of 19:55.39. Freshman Jessica Hrnciar followed Bailey and completed at 20:52.47.
Senior Cassidy Cardone also finished with a time of 21:01.02.
“The freshmen showed strong competitive energy and they seem to be making the transition from high school to college cross country competition well,” Lindsey said.
The men’s and women’s cross country teams are scheduled to compete in the Osprey Open at Stockton University in Pomona, New Jersey on Saturday, Sept. 23.
“The focus for the Osprey Open is to get the freshmen used to the course as the conference championships will be held there again this season,” Lindsey said.