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Cross Country competes at Iona Meet of Champions

Foxes continue to improve

By Zach Dooley
On September 22, 2011

   The Marist Men's Cross Country team hit the ground running this fall with their overall championship at the Marist Invitational in early September. The Red Foxes followed it up this past weekend with a more than respectable ninth place finish at the Iona Meet of Champions in Van Cortlandt Park located in the Bronx, N.Y.

   Marist competed admirably against some of the top teams in the Northeast, including Iona, which is currently ranked fourth in the nation.  Despite not having their full array of top runners in the race, Marist finished in the top half of teams at the meet, improving on a 15th place finish in the same meet last season. 

   The overall champion was Iona, which came as no surprise, followed by Brown in a distant second and the University at Albany finishing third.  Leonard Kohir of Iona was the meet's individual champion with a time of 24:27.95, with a winning time 30 seconds faster than any other competitor. 

   Top finishers for the Red Foxes included junior standout Arquimedes DelaCruz, who was Marist's top finisher, placing 16th overall with a five-mile time of 25:38.72, which comes in only 12 seconds over his personal best time at Van Cortlandt Park, which he set during ECAC Championships last season.

   "I felt pretty good during the race," DelaCruz said. "The team as a whole has been training hard, so the race was just like another workout for us. It's early in the season, and I believe this race showed that we have a lot of potential to be very good towards the end of the season. The team performed great, even without the help of a couple key guys."

   Other notable performers for Marist were sophomore Ken Walshak who was the 37th overall finisher, coming in 18 seconds behind DelaCruz, as well as Junior Mike Nicoletti, who had a career day at Van Cortlandt Park, with a final time of 31 seconds under his personal record on the course.

      On the women's side, the Red Foxes ran their way to their highest finish since 2003. Marist finished seventh out of 19 teams, led by freshman Michelle Gaye. Gaye finished 11th overall in a time of 22:58.74 for the 6K course.

   Senior Addie DiFrancesco and freshman Erin Thompson were the next Red Foxes to cross the finish line, placing consecutively at 29th and 30th, respectively.                                                                                                        

   "I thought the team did very well on Saturday,"  team captain Brian Townsend said.  "We sat out two of our top runners and still managed to compete very well with the rest of the field. Also, overall there were just great times posted from the team."

   Despite the positive signs, Townsend admits there is a need for improvement as the season progresses. 

   "I definitely think there is room for improvement. It's still very early in the season and we've been doing a lot of training recently, which will pay off huge later on down the line."

   Looking forward, the Red Foxes will return to action this Saturday at the Central Connecticut Invitational in New Britain, Conn.

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