By Molly Sweeney
Worcester, Mass. – On Saturday, September 27, 2014, the Assumption College men’s and women’s cross country teams competed against other local schools at the Worcester City Cross Country Championships. Held at Moore State Park in nearby Paxton, Mass. Teams competing included Assumption, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clark University, Worcester State University, Fitchburg State University, Nichols College, Anna Maria College and UMass Boston. Both Assumption squads saw success at the end of the day, as they each won their respective races.
After the 10 a.m. start to the women’s race, Cassie Lincoln, a senior at Assumption, won the women’s 5-kilometer race in a time of 19:59. Erin Beccia, a sophomore from Worcester State University, who ran a time of 20:15, finished in second place. Assumption won the race by placing six out of their top seven finishers in the top 10 overall.
Rachel Avard, a sophomore, finished third overall and second for Assumption as she ran a time of 20:19. Chelsey Peso, a senior at Worcester State University and Kristen Glenine, a first year student at Clark, were the only runners to separate Avard from four of her fellow teammates. Assumption finished the day scoring 25 points thanks to Ashley Pereira, a sophomore, who placed sixth in a time of 21:09, first year Shauna Maresh, who finished seventh in a time of 21:18 and Lili Urso, a junior, who finished eighth in a time of 21:24. Junior Kellie Powers was the final runner to break into the top 10, when she finished in a time of 21:40. The seventh Assumption runner was Chandler O’Brien, a first-year student, finished in 16th place with a time of 22:29.
The Assumption women’s team who was ranked third in the most recent United State Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association East Region poll, finished ahead of Worcester State, Clark, Fitchburg State, Anna Maria, WPI and Nichols College.
Nicole Massoud, a senior captain who did not race due to injury, said via Facebook following the recent ranking, “[We’re] Making Nationals a possibility one race at a time.”
On the men’s side, Brady Phillips, a first-year student at Worcester State University, won the 5-mile race in a time of 28:09. Though Worcester State University held the first finishing spot, it was the Assumption Men’s cross country team that took home the championship. Worcester Polytechnic Institute finished second and were followed by Clark University, Worcester State University, Fitchburg State University, Nichols College, and UMass Boston.
After a second place finish from junior Taylor Days-Merrill, who finished eight seconds behind Phillips in a time of 28:17 and a third place finish from Assumption first year TJ Drohan, who finished in a time of 28:28, the Hounds secured their win with two more runners finishing in the top 10. Alex Smith, a junior placed fifth overall with a time of 28:55 and was followed by sophomore Zack Szymkowicz who ran into eighth place with a time of 29:20. Though not breaking into the top 10, junior Mike Hoye was the fifth scoring runner for Assumption when he became the 18th runner to cross the line, with a time of 30:22. Senior Erich Grosse, who is also one of the captains, and first year Jonathan Geromini, finished sixth and seventh with times of 30:25 and 30:26, respectively for Assumption. Grosse finished 19th overall and Geromini finished 20th overall.
The Assumption men’s team, were also recently ranked tenth by the United State Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) East Region Poll.
Head Assumption Cross Country Coach, Stacie Wentz, was pleased with the performance of her team. In a post from the official Assumption Track and Field Facebook page she said, “Held out a few runners to rest but our depth shined through!”
Both Assumption teams will be racing on Saturday October 4, 2014 at the Paul Short Invitational held at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn.