X-Country splits at Quinnipiac

The reviews were mixed on Northeastern’s performance at the Quinnipiac Invitational last Friday.

The women’s team (1-1) finished first in the event, dominating the field of seven clubs to the tune of 36 points. Their closest competitors in the event were Fairfield, who finished second by a whopping 30 points.

The men, unfortunately, did not fare as well. The Huskies (0-2) finished sixth in a field of eight competitors with 138 points. Only the University of Hartford and Albertus Magnus fared worse, completing the day with 218 and 253 points, respectively.

“The women’s performance was outstanding, [but] the men left things to be desired,” said head coach Sherman Hart.

Sophomore standout Amber Cullen guided the women’s spirited performance, finishing third on the afternoon with a time of 19:45. She was followed by freshman Amy Hicks, who took fourth in 19:51, and fifth-place finisher Meaghan Shaw who ran a time of 20:01. Emily Watson and Erin Ballard, who placed ninth and 15th, respectively, rounded out NU’s top five finishers on the day. Erica Riecke finished right behind Ballard in the 16th slot, further insuring the group’s triumph.

“The entire women’s team stepped up. They were very competitive throughout [the afternoon],” Hart said.

Junior Jon Litchfield led the team with his 20th-place finish in a time of 28:18 on the men’s side. A trio of freshmen tailed Litchfield: freshman James Richard was the team’s second finisher in 25th with a time of 28:40, while first year competitors Terry Dougherty and Tom Pratt were next for NU in 30th and 31st place, respectively. Sophomore Steve Carlson rounded out NU’s top-five in 44th-place.

Hart states that the young men’s team is adjusting to the competition.

“There is a lot of talent on the men’s side,” he said. “The distance switches [unlike the women’s races, which stay at 3.1 miles], and this is a very young team. The men have two more miles to run than they did in high school.

“Hopefully, they’ll figure it out this weekend,” Hart finished, half-jokingly.

Harsh weather conditions were not a factor for either team during the competition.

“The women told me they like the harsh conditions,” Hart cracked. “It would be worse if it was 80-90 degrees.

“They feel more comfortable in cool or damp weather.”

Overall, it was a hotly contested meet for the women. The Northeastern and Fairfield teams were then followed by Yale (69), Quinnipiac (76), Connecticut (128), Hartford (153), and Albertus Magnus (225).

The men’s race was not nearly as competitive. The hosts took the crown in the men’s division with a score of 25 points. Connecticut (69), Yale (71), Fairfield (104), and Rhode Island (105) finished out the group.

Hart knows the effort will be there entering the Fairfield Invitational on Oct. 4.

“Both teams are going to come in and be competitive,” he said. “The women are going to go after it again. [Quinnipiac] allowed them to understand that they can compete with anybody.”

Sophomore runner Adam Zeisel, who missed the invitational with a leg injury, is confident in his teammates.

“The guys still have a few things to work on, but now we know where we are,” he said. “It was a good learning experience; we will be able to win when we need to.”

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