UMass men’s and women’s cross country travel to Boston

Minutemen look to build on stellar first meet performance

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UMass men’s and women’s cross country travel to Boston

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

By Sean Richardson, Collegian Correspondent

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The Massachusetts men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete in its second meet of the season this Friday at the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown at Franklin Park. The meet will feature a five-kilometer run for the women, beginning at 3 p.m. The men will follow at 3:30 p.m. to race an eight-kilometer course.

Over 25 different schools will be in attendance Friday, including local teams like Northeastern, whose campus is less 15 minutes from the course, regional powerhouses Providence and Syracuse, representing the Big East conference, Minnesota, Georgia Tech and Mississippi who will all travel over 1,000 miles to compete. UMass will face some of the top competitors in the Northeast and nation-wide.

After Minuteman Invitational victory, Minutemen look to build momentum 

The men’s cross country team started off its season with a solid victory over regional foes Connecticut and Vermont earlier this month. But UMass will face stiff competition from some of the top programs in the nation come Friday.

“We just want to stay focused on our process,” said coach Tim Ritchie. “What led us to success at the home meet was running together, running tough, being competitive and having pride in representing UMass.”

The first-year coach spoke highly of freshmen Kalin Petrov and Josh Rahn, who made their collegiate debuts at the Minuteman Invitational.

“[Petrov and Rahn] ran very mature, very poised races and moved up well from the pack,” Ritchie said. “Even though they were in their first collegiate race, they ran as if they had been [racing collegiately] for a long time.”

Another Minuteman to watch out for is junior Dawson Bathgate, who finished second out of 34 runners in the Minuteman Invitational and achieved a personal record after completing the six-kilometer course 24 seconds faster than he did a year ago, clocking in at roughly 19 minutes and 32 seconds.

The New York native looks to be the top runner for UMass and has a chance to get another personal record for the eight-kilometer run at the Battle in Beantown with plenty of fast competition to push him.

Minutewomen building toward Atlantic 10 competition

After finishing third at the Minuteman Invitational, coach Julie Lafreniere emphasized that the meet was just the first step for her team this season.

“We’re aiming for A-10’s,” said Lafreniere. “We’re looking for mental toughness and trying to develop [our runners] physically. There’s talent there, but we need to get stronger and faster, we have two months to do that.”

Lafreniere went on to mention how she plans to train her runners hard throughout early October, noting that she expects her runners to be somewhat tired going into Friday’s meet. But once her team lures closer to the A-10 championships in late October, then Lafreniere will make sure her runners “back off” from training to make sure everyone is well rested for the championship.

With strong runners Serena Sarage, Caroline Clark and Alexia Hurley on the roster, it is expected that the Minutewomen will hold their own come race time at any meet this season.

Sean Richardson can be reached at [email protected]