HOLMDEL, N.J. –
The men’s cross country team took first place at the 19th
Annual Monmouth Invitational on Saturday morning at Holmdel Park. For MU, it is the ninth time the team has won the annual meet, and the first time since 2006. Khari Bowen
(Monroe, N.J./Monroe Township) set a Monmouth school record at Holmdel Park, placing third overall on the five mile course with a time of 26:20.70. The women took second place overall, led by freshman Lennon Cooper
(Holmdel, N.J./Holmdel), who raced through the 5k course in 19:18.31, an MU freshman record.
“We still have not put out best crew on the starting line together yet, but we had most of them racing today and they did a solid job to get the win,” said Head Coach Joe Compagni.
The Monmouth men’s top five finishers averaged a time of 27:06.5, which is the second best top five time in school history at Holmdel Park. Bowen, who paced MU with his third place finish, broke the course record set by Nick Pellegrino in 2003. He was followed by Alex Leight (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge) who placed ninth ran the course in 26:56.31, and Domenick D’Agostino (Wallington, N.J./Wallington), who crossed with a time of 27:13.42. Three Hawks finished consecutively, as Anthony Branco (Old Bridge, N.J./Matawan), Tommy Darlington (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem), and Andrew Langille (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada/R.S. McLaughlin C.V.I) finished back-to-back-to-back, with Darlington and Langille separated by just under four seconds. Senior Pat Ryan (Leonia, N.J./Leonia) finished off the top-seven for Monmouth, crossing in 28:03.24.
The men’s squad won the division one team competition with 41 points, edging Rider who notched 42. Rutgers tallied 70 points, followed by Wagner with 101 and Fairleigh Dickinson with 102. The men’s five mile course is on a slightly modified layout that was first used last year. NYU won the open division with a perfect 15 point score.
Following Cooper, who was the seventh overall to cross the finish line, was Amanda Eller (Millville, N.J./Millville), who crossed in tenth place at 19:31.51.The MU newcomers raced well again, as four of the next six Hawks to cross were freshmen. Jenna Cupp (Newark Valley, N.Y./Newark Valley) placed with a time of 19:44.98, and was trailed by Kristen-Rodgers Erickson (High Bridge, N.J./Voorhees) and Nina Poccia (Morristown, N.J./Pope John XXIII), who finished just one second apart. Molly McKeon (Royersford, Pa./Pope John Paul II) came across at 20:03.63 and senior Danielle Branco (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge) rounded out the MU top seven with a time of 20:04.56.
“The women had a chance to get the win today and let it slip away, but it was still a positive day overall for them as we keep training for bigger things down the road,” said Compagni.
For the second straight year, Monmouth finished a close second to Rutgers, putting up 41 points to RU’s 36. Rider notched 71 team points, while Fairleigh Dickinson added 98 and Wagner totaled 114. NYU won the open competition with a 26 point score.
Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams return to action on Saturday, October 5 when they will run at the Paul Short Run at Lehigh University. The men’s race begins at 12:15 p.m., with the women starting at 1:00 p.m.