In their biggest invitational so far this season, the men’s cross country team requisitioned a second place men’s team victory out of 14 schools thank to contributions by fifth place junior Ben Fazio and seventh place sophomore Grant O’Connor. Fazio ran the 6,000 meter course on Vassar Farm in a time of 19:31.2, finishing only five seconds behind the leader from New York University, and O’Connor crossed at 19:35.0.
“[O]ur focus as a team this year is to work together more rather than running races individually,” said Fazio. “We’re very good about helping each other through tough workouts, but have always lacked that team element in competition. So far this season, the team has broken into packs in races and we’re noticing a definite benefit from that. Our goals for this season really coincide nicely with our new approach to racing; we’re very much focused on being the best team we can be, rather than a collection of individuals,” he added.
Other top RPI men’s finishers included sophomore Sean O’Connor, senior Matthew Cicciu, and senior Garrett Davis in 14th, 15th, and 16th, respectively. Adopting the pack method, these runners all finished within five seconds of one another.
Placing high to secure a third place team spot out of 15 schools in the women’s 5,000 meter race were junior Jaime Lord in 17th, sophomore Karina Bolton in 22nd, senior Allison Thayer in 23rd, and senior Maddie Dery in 24th. Lord finished the course in a time of 19:36.4. Crossing in 18:04.2 was first place Amy Regan of Stevens Institute of Technology.
Both the men’s and women’s teams from Williams College ranked first overall, with 31 points and 41 points for the men and women, respectively. Runner-up RPI accrued 26 additional points on the men’s side, while the third place women’s team trailed Williams and Stevens by a few points.
The Engineers will not compete again until Saturday, September 24, when they will travel to Williamstown, Massachusetts, to race in the Purple Valley Classic hosted by Williams College.