Cross Country Competes at MAAC Championship

Cross CountryThe men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the MAAC Championship at the Disney World Sports Complex in Orlando, FL on Oct. 29. The women finished third in the 11 team field while the men finished sixth.

“The atmosphere for the championships was tremendous and a memorable event for the athletes for sure,” Head Coach Joe Compagni said. “Our women’s team is a veteran group and they raced very tough. Some of our key men were not healthy and it certainly cost us, but we have some younger guys who really stepped up.”

Six Hawks (four women and two men) finished in the top-25. Senior Jenna Cupp finished ninth in the women’s 6k with a time of 22:00.12 while junior Allie Wilson finished 16th, crossing the finish line at 22:18.38. Seniors Maggie Hanlon and Molly McKeon came in 20th and 23rd, respectfully. For the men, sophomore Kyle Mueller finished 12th (25:23.32), and freshman Ryan Rafferty finished 24th (25:44.27). Cupp and Mueller were named to the All-MAAC team, while Rafferty was voted to the MAAC All-Rookie Team.

“We did a new type of heart rate training this year and that’s prepared us to work out strong but not rush our workouts, so we’ve been entering races with fresher legs and I think that’s helped us to this point,” McKeon said.

“We’ve put in a lot of work and we’ve really been looking forward to this race,” senior Kevin Summonte said, who finished the men’s 8k run at the MAAC Championship with a time of 27:44.70. “It’s kind of what we gear everything for our season towards. I would have to say a lot of the guys are excited because all of our work is finally starting to come together.”

In their previous meet at Central Connecticut State, the women finished fourth in the 17 team field and were led by Cupp, who finished eighth in the 3k with a time of 10:24.44, which is the third fastest time in Monmouth history at the meet. The men finished seventh and were led in the 5k by Mueller, who placed sixth with a time of 15:17.4, which is the fourth fastest.

“Last week was kind of a tune-up race for us and it gave us a chance to work on some things,” Compagni said. “Not everybody raced and it gave them a chance to just train through the week and other people that raced depending on where they were at with their training and what we felt like they needed to work on.”

MU will next compete in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals on Nov. 11 at Penn State, which will be followed up with the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC)/Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) Championships on Nov. 19 at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, NY. Each course will present the team with different challenges.

“The Florida course for the MAAC is completely flat. We go to Penn State for Regionals and that’s a golf course where you’re always going up or down, but not any serious hills. And then we go to Van Cortlandt Park which is either flat or very rolling hills.

They’re three very different courses but we know that before the season and we try to prepare for all those elements as we get ready for the end of the season,” Compagni said.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University Athletics