Fazio places fourth, Lord sixth at New Jersey championship

Senior Ben Fazio finished the men’s 8000 meter championship race ahead of 371 runnings with his fourth-place time of 23:35.1 on Saturday in Glassboro, New Jersey, at the 45-school Inter-Regional Border Battle hosted by Rowan University. The men’s and women’s teams, both ranked No. 11 in Division III heading into the meet, represented one of ten nationally-ranked schools at the meet. Colleges from as far away as Georgia attended.

Following Fazio was sophomore Grant O’Connor who helped the Engineers to 3rd place by placing in seventh with a time of 23:40.8, averaging a 4:46 mile pace. Sophomore Sean O’Connor ranked third for RPI placing 28th overall in a time of 24:19.7. The overall team champion with 71 points was the State University of New York Geneseo, led by first place Isaac Garcia-Cassani who crossed in 23:19.9.

In a 386-person field with 45 teams participating, junior Jaime Lord raced hard to earn a top ten position in the women’s 6000 meter championship race. Her time of 21:06.5 earned her eighth place. Behind Lord in 50th was senior Mary West in 22:07.8, then sophomore Karina Bolton with a time of 22:10.6, senior Maddie Dery in 22:35.0, and senior Allison Thayer in 22:47.7. Their individual efforts added up to 296 points, winning them an eighth place team title. John Hopkins University took first at the meet with 70 points.

Four races were held at the meet, including two open races and two championship races. The top ten athletes on each men’s and women’s team were invited to compete in the championship races, while the remaining athletes competed in the open races. Both courses were flat and weather conditions were good for racing.

After an injury that set her back last cross country season, senior Emily Stickles returned to racing this semester, competing in the open race on Saturday. As the end of her final season of cross country at RPI draws near, her goal is to break 25 minutes in the 6000 meters again. “I have one race left,” Stickles said. “I think I can do it.”

That one race remaining will happen on Saturday, October 29, in Geneva, New York, at the Liberty League Championship hosted by Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The Engineers’ regular season ended on Saturday, and from here, they are looking ahead to Liberty League, Regional, and NCAA Division III National Championship meets.