Sep 7, 2013
Siena Cross Country did something it hadn't in quite a long time Saturday. The men's team won their first race in nine years and Christie MacFarlane became the first Siena woman to capture the individual title in 13 years, as the Saints opened 2013 in a big way at Trinity College's Bantam Invitational at Wickham Park in Manchester, Conn.
"I think the biggest accomplishment we were really happy about at the end of the day was that we had every member healthy both at the start and finish of the race," said first-year head coach John Kenworthy. "Our goal was to be conservative at the start of the race and aggressive for the second half, so for us to still get those results at the end and perform so well was a nice added bonus."
The men's squad cruised to the 5K title, leaving the other eight schools in their dust. Siena boasted six of the top-10 finishers on the men's side to capture its first victory since winning the Fairfield Invitational on Oct. 2, 2004.
"The men worked really well together," noted Kenworthy. "We really knew our strength would be in that pack of our top 5-7 runners and that that group would be an asset."
Meanwhile MacFarlane, who was the Saints' top women's finisher in five of six races as a freshman last fall, completed the 4K race in a time of 16:46 to glide past Salve Regina's Amy Irving by nine seconds. MacFarlane is the first Siena woman to capture an individual championship since Michelle Milton on Sept. 30, 2000 at the Fairfield Invitational.
"Christie was very composed after the first mile and just moved up incredibly throughout the race," added Kenworthy. "She has been a great leader on the course because she does all the right things and executes well and provides us with a good start to our score every week just like she always has."
Sophomore Sal Wright led the men, finishing second overall with a time of 16:54. He was joined in the top-10 by Nick Miller (4th - 16:59), Nick Grudev (5th - 17:01), Paolo Fiore (8th - 17:12), Brendan Gregg (9th - 17:14) and Ryan Egan (10th - 17:22).
MacFarlane guided the Siena women to a third place finish in a seven-team field. Freshman Kelly Pasko also finished in the top-10 in the 93-runner field, running 10th overall with a time of 18:01.
The Saints return to the course in two weeks for Iona College's Br. Doyle Meet of Champions on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Races begin at 9:30 a.m.