Both the No. 15 men’s and the No. 14 women’s cross country teams enjoyed a successful trip to Mason, Ohio, to compete in the Big East Championship meet on Halloween weekend. The men captured first place overall with 33 points, defeating rival Villanova by one point. The women secured second place overall with 54 points. Providence claimed first place with 26 points and Villanova took third with 86 points.
The men were once again led by junior Jonathan Green who ran a time of 22:44.0 on the 8000-meter course and claimed second overall behind Villanova’s Patrick Tiernan, a three-time Big East individual champion. Both Green’s teammates and his coaches have noticed his consistency and hard work.
“He ran incredibly well. Patrick Tiernan is one of the best runners in Big East history so for Jon to run up close to him is really, really impressive,” Assistant Coach Brandon Bonsey said. “Jon’s had an incredible season. He spent the summer training at altitude and that’s certainly paid off. If he runs at that level again I think he will be right up in the front of the pack at the NCAA meet.”
Fellow junior Scott Carpenter finished in sixth with a time of 23:17.9. Senior Darren Fahy (23:20.1), junior Amos Bartelsmeyer (23:20.8) and senior Ahmed Bile (23:25.7) rounded out the Hoyas’ top five runners.
“Jon obviously ran great. Scott Carpenter ran a really tough race,” Bonsey said. “He put himself out there and ran most of the race on his own which is very difficult. I thought Amos Bartelsmeyer ran by far his best cross country race ever, finishing eighth. They are all in the same grade and that grade ran incredibly well. I think our sixth and seventh can run where our fifth was.”
Bonsey also mentioned the team’s strength in its ability to run together as a unit.
“That’s the thing we really need to work on the most, having our 4-7 runners all together because we have the team that can do it,” Bonsey said.
While the men are excited about winning their first Big East Championship since 2008, they know they cannot dwell on their victory for too long.
“It means a lot to us,” Green said. “Ever since the new conference has started, Villanova has won a lot. There’s a big rivalry between us and Villanova across all sports so beating Villanova was great. We are going to use this meet as a stepping stone to our next meet which is Regionals and then NCAAs for both men’s and women’s, most likely.”
Graduate student Andrea Keklak led the women’s team and finished fifth overall with a time of 19:53.8 on the 6000-meter course.
“She’s been a great leader on this team so far,” senior Haley Pierce said. “Over the summer we weren’t really sure how she was going to be coming into the season. She’s been great and it’s been great to watch.”
Sophomore Autumn Eastman finished seventh overall with a time of 20:01.0 and Pierce claimed eighth in 20:04.0. Freshman Audrey Belf continued to build on a strong first season, finishing 11th with a time of 20:10.4. Senior Heather Martin rounded out the Hoyas’ top five with a 20:37.8 time, finishing 23rd overall. The women posted the smallest spread among their top five scorers, with only 39.6 seconds separating Keklak and Martin’s times.
“We were very focused on running together and finding teammates in the race and working off of each other and seeing how we could use each other to push each other forward,” Pierce said.
Running together has been a focal point for the women’s cross country team this season and Pierce explained that they use that strategy to help them in races.
“I think especially for our team, we don’t have a front runner per se. Our biggest asset is that we can run in a close pack and there be a small spread from one to five,” Pierce said. “We have been stressing that all season because we know that it can play to our advantage, and also I think it’s a mindset we like to take in cross country: focus on the team’s success.”