BRONX, N.Y.- The MU men’s cross country team placed second and the women notched a fifth place finish at the ECAC/IC4A Championships at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx on Saturday. Khari Bowen (Monroe, N.J./Monroe Township) finished off his stellar cross country season with a fourth place finish, and Amanda Eller (Millville, N.J./Millville) closed out a strong career by leading the women’s squad with a 19th place mark.
The Monmouth men’s team finished second overall in the IC4A University Race, finishing behind only Fordham University by 53 points. MU notched 127 points on the day, and the second place finish was the best finish ever for the men in school history at the event. MU edged Pitt and New Hampshire, with Binghamton finishing fifth. Monmouth also beat out MAAC rivals Manhattan, Marist, and in-state foe Rutgers.
The men’s group was led once again by Bowen, who completed the 10k course in 25:54, finishing fourth overall. Alex Leight (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge) crossed just 31 seconds later, good for a 15th place mark. Both Bowen and Leight earned All-East honors. For Bowen, it is the third consecutive year he has been an All-East performer. Sophomore Domenick D’Agostino (Wallington, N.J./Wallington) also ran strong, placing 27th in 26:40, narrowly missing his second All-East selection. Senior Anthony Branco (Old Bridge, N.J./Matawan) came in four spots behind D’Agostino in 31st, finishing with a time of 26:44. Senior Pat Ryan ran the 10k course in 27:03, good for 54th, and the MU top-seven was closed out by back-to-back finishes from Kevin Summonte (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) and Tommy Darlington (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem) in 78th and 79th with times of 27:27 and 27:28 respectively.
“For our seniors in their last meet, and for our full team, this was a great way to end the season,” said Head Coach Joe Compagni. “The men and women didn’t have a perfect day, but both put together their best team race of the season and competed with a lot of heart.”
Monmouth’s women’s placed fifth, the third best finish for the women ever at the event. Pitt took home the women’s title, compiling 83 points, 12 tallies ahead of Sacred Heart which took home second overall. Holy Cross landed in third with a 126 followed by Marist in fourth with 149 points. The Hawks finished seven points behind the Red Foxes, and 22 points in front of sixth place Fordham. Binghamton and Towson finished in seventh and eighth, posting scored of 215 and 224, respectively, while Robert Morris (243) and Fairfield (262) round out the top-10 of the 17-team field.
Eller ran the 5k course in 18:54.7, finishing 19th and pacing the women’s squad which turned in its third-best result at the annual event in school history. Eller was just six seconds away from earning All-East honors. Lennon Cooper (Holmdel, N.J./Holmdel) crossed the finish line in 19:03.9, good for 25th overall, to etch her fifth freshman record this season. Lucia Montefusco (Levittown, N.Y./MacArthur) finished third for the Hawks, 34th overall, clocking in at 19:19.8, followed by Nina Poccia (Morristown, N.J./Pope John XXIII) in 39th 7.3 seconds later. Sydney Engelberger (Great Barrington, Mass./Monument Mountain RHS) crossed the finish line at 19.34.0 in 45th place, while Rachel Baker (Hanson, Mass./Whitman Hanson Regional) and Kristen Rodgers-Erickson (High Bridge, N.J./Voorhees) finished in 19:50.7 and 19.53.4, respectively to round out the Hawks’ top-seven in 60th and 63rd.
“We are looking forward to seeing this group excel in track and to see the team move to another level next fall,” said Compagni.
The men’s and women’s cross country teams wrapped up their first seasons in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) with the ECAC/IC4A Championships.