As the sun set on Franklin Park in Boston, the Massachusetts cross-country teams had overcome a variety of different obstacles to turn in two strong performances.
The men’s team had four new faces among its top five finishers, who overcame their inexperience to lead the team to a 30th place finish of out 47 teams. The women’s team overcame a series of nagging injuries to improve on last year’s performance, coming in 11th out of 47 teams as well.
The Minutemen were led by junior Patrick McAllister, who led the team for the first time this season with a 90th place finish in 26 minutes, eight seconds. Senior Sonny Gamble (26:16) and freshman Paul Merriman (26:57), who came in 109th and 186th respectively, followed McAllister.
Rounding out the five top finishers for the Minutemen were freshman Jared Reddy, who finished in 187th with a time of 26:59, and junior Andrew Erwin, who came in 199th with a time of 27:06. Only Gamble had placed before for the Minutemen this season.
Dartmouth College was the overall winner of the men’s race. Dartmouth had all five of its placing runners finish in the top 50 competitors, an accomplishment no other school in this competition can boast.
Tom Robbins was the top finisher for the Big Green, coming in fifth with a time of 24:36. Their 138 points just edged out Boston University, which finished with 140 points.
Eric Ashe led BU with a second place finish. The individual victor was Glarius Rop of American International College, who finished in a time of 24:08.
The top competitor for the Minutewomen was sophomore Courtney Baldwin, no stranger to these top finishes.
Baldwin has placed first for the Minutewomen in three of their four meets this season. She crossed the finish line in 18:41, good for 39th place. Junior Karen Roa (18:45) came in second, with a 46th overall finish. Senior Gina Perno, senior Elizabeth Fisk and junior Jennifer Harkey rounded out the top five for the Minutewomen.
“I thought the women competed well, they raced hard. We are still not 100 percent with the athletes,” UMass coach Julie LaFreniere said. “Karen Roa is not healthy, Gina Perno was diagnosed with a sinus infection last week. We have ideas of what we need to work on, we just need a little time to heal from the injuries.”
Boston College ran away with the women’s race, finishing with 26 points. This blew away its closest competitor, Connecticut, which came in second with 116 points.
The Golden Eagles placed four runners in the top five overall finishers, with their fifth competitor coming in 12th. The top individual finisher was Corey Conner of Maine, who crossed the finish line in 16:54.
The men’s team will next return to action on Oct. 16 at the Chili Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, Ark. The women’s team will next be competing at the Rothenberg Race in Warwick, R.I. on Oct. 15. After that, the Atlantic 10 Championships are on the horizon for both teams.
Ben Lambert can be reached at email@example.com.