Engineers break Saints’ 21–year win record

BEN FAZIO CAME in first of 128 in the 8000m race at the Liberty League Tournament (file photo)

Every year since the beginning of the Liberty League in 1995, St. Lawrence University has won or tied for first place for the men’s league championship meet title, until now. On Saturday, at Seneca Lake State Park in Geneva, New York, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute made league history when they broke the Saints’ 21-year hold on the Liberty League title.

Ranked first in the league, second in the region, and 11th nationally heading into the 8000 meter race, the men’s team was projected to win the trophy based on earlier season performances, particularly at the Rowan University Inter-Regional Border Battle where the Engineers placed third overall, three spots above then-No. 20-ranked St. Lawrence, and were headed by senior Ben Fazio in fourth and sophomore Grant O’Connor in seventh out of 374 competitors. At that 40-school meet, Fazio and O’Connor averaged 4:45 and 4:46 per mile respectively for a distance of nearly five miles.

40 points ahead of runner-up St. Lawrence on Saturday, RPI placed seven athletes in the top 12, earning 22 points. Fazio triumphed over the entire 128-person field, completing the course in 25:22.5. O’Connor was directly behind him in second with a time of 25:26.5. Sophomore Sean O’Connor, senior Garrett Davis, and senior Matthew Cicciu followed in fourth, fifth, and tenth, respectively, rounding out the team’s scoring members.

The RPI women’s team also emerged on top ahead of runner-up St. Lawrence when they defended their hold on the league title after placing five women in the top ten of the 121-person field. After the 2015 season championship, the Engineers captured the honor from the Saints following their 13-consecutive-year grasp on the title.

Also making a powerful appearance at the Inter-Regional Meet earlier in October, junior Jaime Lord placed eighth out of 386 people. She headed the Engineers once again in the women’s 6000 meter championship race on Saturday, placing second with a time of 22:27.9 behind repeat winner from last year, Megan Kellogg, of St. Lawrence. The pack of senior Mary West, senior Maddie Dery, and sophomore Karina Bolton finished fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively, to boost RPI in the ranks; with sophomore Maddie Sturm finishing in tenth, all scoring members on the women’s team finished in the top ten, securing their 30-point victory 16 points in front of St. Lawrence.

Training for the NCAA Atlantic Regional Meet in Glassboro New Jersey, coming up on Saturday, November 12 began this week for the Engineers, who were invited to compete in it after demonstrating their prowess at the Liberty League.