CROSS COUNTRY OPENS WITH PAIR OF FIRST PLACE FINISHES
LINCROFT, N.J.-The Monmouth University men’s and women’s cross country teams each took first place at the 10th annual Monmouth XC Kick-Off at Thompson Park in Lincroft, N.J. on Saturday morning. The men’s team, running on the 6k (3.7 mile) course, totaled 34 points, while the women’s team finished with a perfect 15 points on the 4k (2.5 mile) course. Amanda Eller (Millville, N.J./Millville) finished in first place, and was one of six women that MU placed in the top ten. The men were paced by senior Anthony Branco (Old Bridge, N.J./Matawan), who crossed the finish line in eighth place with a time of 19:47.7.
Eller placed first in the 4k women’s race, marking the third consecutive year the Millville, N.J. native finished in the top ten in the Monmouth XC Kick-Off. Five newcomers joined Eller in the top ten, as five freshmen placed atop the charts in their first collegiate race. Lennon Cooper (Holmdel, N.J./Holmdel), Jenna Cupp (Newark Valley, N.Y./Newark Valley), Rachael Baker (Hanson, Mass/Whitman Hanson Regional), and Abby Baker (Hanson, Mass/Whitman Hanson Regional) placed fourth through seventh respectively, and Molly McKeon (Royersford, Pa./Pope John Paul II) rounded out the top ten with her tenth place finish. Rounding out the MU top-seven was Nina Poccia (Morristown, N.J./Pope John XXIII), who took home a 13th place finish.
“The women’s team is off to a great start, we have some freshmen who are contributing right away, and some veterans who will help us get stronger every week,” said Monmouth Head Coach Joe Compagni. “It’s great for Amanda to come back and to be able to be a great leader for us this fall, and she ran strong today.”
The Monmouth women posted 15 points, to finish ahead of Seton Hall University (60 points), St. Francis College (80 points), and Wagner College (89 points). In the open division, NYU notched 15 points, followed by Drew University with 50 points.
On the men’s side, Monmouth led the way with 34 points, narrowly edging Seton Hall, who posted 35 points. St. Francis College added 63 points, and Wagner was incomplete. NYU won the men’s open division with a 15 point mark.
Just behind Branco for Monmouth was junior Tommy Darlington (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem), who finished ninth out of 65 competitors on the men’s side with a time of 19:52.2. Alex Leight (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge) crossed the line in 12th place at 19:57.5, finishing a few spots above freshman Matt Nelson (Barnegat, N.J./Barnegat), who came in 20th at 20:14.5. Sophomore Domenick D’Agostino (Wallington, N.J./Wallington) came through three spots behind Nelson in 23rd, with a time of 20:19.7. A pair of Hawks finished back-to-back to round out the MU top-seven, with Alex Hershman (Elkins Park, Pa./Cheltenham) and Zach Iannarelli (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) placing in 34th and 35th.
In regards to the times in the women's race, there was a problem in the scoring system and those times are not currently available.
Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams will return to action next Saturday, September 7th, when they compete in the Fordham Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, N.Y. Women’s competition begins at 10:00 AM, with the men slated to start a half hour later.