The Siena Men's and Women's Cross Country teams opened their fall season Saturday at the Hamilton Short Course Invitational which included host Hamilton College and Nazareth along with the Saints as the competing schools. The men boasted five of the top-10 finishers, while the women's top-four racers were underclassmen.
"The goal for this meet was to shake the rust off and get through the routine of racing again while getting in some good work at a great facility," said head coach John Kenworthy. "I think we walked away knowing that we could give more and had more in the tank, but the group looked solid and we accomplished our mission."
The Saints ran an abbreviated group on both the men's and women's sides as the program looks to build up over the next two weekends leading into the Monmouth Invitational Sept. 20. That race will be the first of the fall that features the majority of the MAAC's teams and will be held at the site of the conference's championship meet set for Halloween.
Junior Nick Miller paced the men, finishing third overall with a time of 19:57.4 on the 6K course. Sophomore Paolo Fiore (fifth - 20:09.1), sophomore Nick Cornine (seventh - 20:14.0), junior Tom Higgins (ninth - 20:19.2) and freshman Shaun VanBuskirk (10th - 20:20.7) all finished in the top-10 and the Saints top-seven runners ran a 26-second spread.
On the women's side, sophomore Shannon Bauer was the top finisher, placing fifth with a time of 16:07.5 in the 4K race. Siena's next three finishers were all freshmen - Dominica Bleichert (sixth - 16:11.1), Gina D'Angelo (ninth - 16:30.1) and Erin Morrell (13th - 16:55.2) - who all made strong showings in their collegiate debuts.
The Saints return to the course next weekend with a local meet when the squads run in the Rensselaer Invitational which will be held at 11 a.m. at Saratoga State Park.