Honored as the Liberty League Men’s Cross Country Performer of the Week following his first place victory at the Saratoga Invitational on Saturday, senior Ben Fazio finished the men’s 8000 meter race ahead of 171 competitors in a time of 25:11.3, averaging 5:05 per mile. This is the fifth time in his collegiate career Fazio has been awarded the title.
Hosting the meet were the No. 12 nationally ranked men’s team and the No. 11 nationally ranked women’s team from RPI, both boasting first place team trophies from their performances in the 6000 meter and 8000 meter races respectively at Saratoga Spa State Park. Like Fazio, junior Jaime Lord was also as an individual winner, completing the course in 17:30.7.
Rensselaer alumna Shannon Trant finished runner-up to former teammate Lord in the 157-person field with a time of 17:52.4. Alumnus Jacob Andrews crossed in third with a time of 25:32.5. Seven other alumni returned for the women’s race, while 14 competed in the men’s race. The women’s alumni team placed eighth out of 13 complete teams, and the men took seventh out of 14.
All five scoring members of the men’s team finished in the top 10, boosting the Engineers to a 70-point lead over the State University of New York Delhi in second. The athletes responsible for earning 23 points compared to Delhi’s 93 included runner-up sophomore Grant O’Connor, fourth place sophomore Sean O’Connor, seventh place senior Brian Crowley, and ninth place senior Matthew Cicciu. Though not included in score, senior Garrett Davis’ tenth place finish made for a solid six-man advantage on the course.
Five RPI women secured a position in the top 10 of the 6000 meter race to help the Engineers rank high in both races. Sophomore Karina Bolton placed fifth, senior Maddie Dery sixth, senior Mary West eighth, and freshman Maddie Sturm tenth. Their combined effort resulted in a 37-point lead over the runner-up State University of New York Plattsburgh with 67.
Rensselaer’s next meet will be on Saturday, October 15, at Rowan University, where both teams will race in the Inter-Regional Border Battle.