The Mount St. Mary’s University Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams opened up their season with a meet on home turf. The Mount St. Mary’s 5K Duals welcomed George Washington University, Franklin Pierce University, American University, and University of Maryland: Baltimore County to the course on the men’s side, while the women welcomed George Washington, Franklin Pierce, American, UMBC, University of Maryland: College Park and Navy. The American men finished on top with a winning performance from junior Benjamin Dorion and a perfect 4-0 record. On the Women’s side, Navy took first place with a 6-0 record and were led by sophomore Claire Ostrowski.
The Mount men opened up their season with a massive improvement from last year by dropping their average time on the home course by 37 seconds. The men’s team was led by junior Nick Fransham who covered the Mount’s 5k course in a blistering 15:41 and finished 10th overall. First year Isaac Kole opened up his first college race ever with a very strong performance running 15:51. Kole was followed by senior Chris Evans, who finished 25th with a time of 16:15. Sophomore Mitchel Wileczek, who finished 32nd with a time of 16:26 and junior Ben Finnigan rounded out the Mount’s top five placing 39th with a time of 16:31.
“I’m really excited to have a really strong set of top runners,” says Finnigan. “We are looking extremely strong as a team and we’re looking to finish in the highest place that Mount Cross Country has ever done in the NEC competition come October.”
The women’s team was able to field a larger team than last year in the duals with a total of twelve girls (with an additional two first year athletes listed as unattached). The women were led by junior Clarke Hooper with a Personal Record of 20 minutes flat. On her heels were junior Ashleigh Kocher, who finished with a time of 20:12, first year Lesha Kay, who kicked off her Mount career with a time of 20:27, first year Adria Pirozzi, who started her inaugural season with a time of 20:38 and senior Hailey Johnson, who finished with a time of 21:47.
The meet proved that Coach Fitzsimmons has settled into his position as Assistant Cross Country coach in only his second season with the Mount.
“Coach was working hard in the off-season and was able to create a big recruiting class for the class of 2021,” says Finnigan. Coach Fitzsimmons was able to bring in a total of 14 first year students within both the men’s and women’s teams.
In two weeks, the top 7 men and women will be heading to Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana to compete in the National Catholic Invitational. The Mount will continue the race to NEC’s with an additional four meets before the conference championships. The Mount will be gearing up for the Northeast Conference Championships where they will face the hills of Central Connecticut at the end of October.