Sports

Cross-Country Participates in MAAC Championships

Cross Country 10.31.18Both the men’s and women’s cross-country squads participated in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship on Saturday at the Crossings at Colonie Park in Loudonville, NY, placing third and sixth respectively.

The Championship meet began with the men’s 8,000 meter (8K) run. Monmouth placed third out of an 11-team field, finishing behind only Siena and the eventual champion Iona.

Leading the way for the Hawks was senior Kyle Mueller. The distance runner finished in fourth place overall with a time of 25:19.3, setting a new personal-best at Colonie Park.

Behind Mueller was fellow senior Ryan Mitchell who finished in seventh place with a time of 25:37.7.

Following Mueller and Mitchell was junior Ryan Rafferty who finished in 19th place with a time of 26:00.3, sophomore Tim Euler in 28th at 26:13.3, and freshman Louis DiLaurenzio in 30th at 26:18.2, rounding out Monmouth’s top five.

“The men knew they had a chance to make history behind a nationally ranked program,” said Head Coach Joe Compagni. “We were one more big race away from second place but we are proud of their great finish.”

Iona won the championship with a score of 35, giving them their 28th consecutive title.

Following the men’s race, Mueller and Mitchell were named to the all-MAAC team for a second straight year. Their efforts on Saturday marked the first time in history that Monmouth placed two runners in the top 10 of a championship since joining the MAAC six years ago.

In addition to Mueller and Mitchell, DiLaurenzio was honored by being named an all-MAAC rookie. It was the first time a rookie won the award for the Hawks since Rafferty did so as a freshman in 2016.

The Hawks finished in sixth place out of an 11-team field in the women’s 6,000-meter (6K) race. The Blue and White were led by senior Chandi Piiru, who finished 26th overall with a time of 22:49.2. It was the first time that Piiru led Monmouth in a meet this season.

Just over a second behind Piiru was Stratz. She finished 28th overall with a time of 2:50.3.

To round out the Hawks’ top five runners, junior Dayna Luma finished 32nd overall with a time of 23:13.9, sophomore Kyra Velock 38th overall at 23:25.3, and sophomore Melanie Pfennig 51st overall at 23:43.0.

“The women had a super aggressive race plan and it did not work out as well as we expected,” Compagni said. “They have made great progress the last few weeks, though, and their best race of the year could still be in front of them.”

As a team, Monmouth compiled 154 points. The MAAC champion, Iona, recorded 21 points en route to their 12th title in the last 13 seasons.

Last season, both cross country squads came in sixth place in the MAAC Championship which was held in Holmdel Park. Like this year, Mueller paced the Hawks as their top runner.

Prior to the meet, senior Brianna Stratz was named the MAAC Female Runner of the Week. The award follows her first-place finish at the Monmouth Tune-Up meet a week earlier.

Stratz is the second Hawk to receive the honor this season, joining graduate student Christina Rutkowski who won the award for the week of Sept. 27. The Blue and White now have four runners that have received the award this season; two on the women’s squad and two on the men’s.

After a week off, the Hawks will resume their season at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, which is set to be the second of three championship meets that Monmouth is participating in this season. In last year’s regionals, the men finished in 18th while the women finished in 20th.

The meet is set for Nov. 9 and will be hosted by Penn State University.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics