Cross country conquers

Men take first at opening meet

Five capital district schools raced at the opening meet for the Engineers’ 2016 season last Thursday, hosted by Siena College. Heading the men’s team in the 5670 meter race were senior Ben Fazio and sophomore Grant O’Connor, who crossed the finish line together in third and fourth place with times of 18:28. Overall, the men captured first at the meet, while senior team co-captain Mary West led the women’s team to a second place finish. Placing 11th in the 4000 meter race, she ran the course in 15:20.

Three others from RPI in the 5670 meter race also packed up to finish together in the top ten with a time of 18:45: freshman Jordan Kolpak in seventh, senior Matthew Cicciu in eighth, and junior Matthew Stewart in ninth. All five scoring runners completed the race in strong position, and even RPI’s sixth and seventh finishers, senior Garrett Davis and sophomore Sean O’Connor, clocked in with times just outside of the top 10. They placed 11th and 12th overall respectively, each with a time of 11:46.

Victorious in the men’s race was the pack of Nick Cornine and Paolo Fiore from Siena. Crossing within one second of each other at 18:20 and 18:21 respectively, Cornine and Fiore helped their team rank a close second behind RPI 31-34. A five-woman pack from Siena led the 4000 meters to give their team a huge 59-point lead over RPI’s women, who finished with 74 points. Continuing in the trend of teammates finishing together, sophomore Karina Bolton and senior Allison Thayer crossed the line simultaneously in 16th and 17th, respectively. Both received a time of 16:02.

In August, junior Allison Thayer and seniors Maddie Dery and Mary West were named team co-captains for 2016. Dery is serving her second year in this capacity, while Thayer and West are new to the role. The men’s team captains are seniors Matthew Cicciu, Brian Crowley, Garrett Davis, and Ben Fazio.

Recent additions to the RPI cross country coaching staff include Kailyn Balzano, a two-time cross country NCAA Championship qualifier, runner, and cum laude graduate in exercise science, and Nick Marcantonio, a four-time cross country NCAA Championship Meet competitor working towards a master of science in management of leisure services.

This Saturday, the Engineers will race in the Ronald Stonitsch Invitational at Vassar Farm in Poughkeepsie, New York. Events will begin at 10 am.