Siena Cross Country broke out of the starting gates Saturday, starting a new season at the Shawn M. Nassaney Memorial Race hosted by Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I. The men's team placed eighth overall in the 8K race, while the women ran 13th in the 5K.
"We're off to a good start as we try to improve upon the foundation of this program," said new head coach Joanne Dow. "I'm happy with where we started today and we can continue to build upon this performance going forward."
The men finished eighth out of 15 teams in the field, with a total time of 2:17:46.8 and an average time of 27:33.3 for nine runners.
Juniors Ryan Egan and Brendan Gregg paced the men, finishing 19th and 24th overall individually. Egan finished in a time of 26:38.5, while Gregg clocked in at 26:54.1.
"For Ryan, this was a big PR for him," said Dow. "Both he and Brendan are our top guys right now and as juniors we expect them to be right up there. I'm not surprised that they raced well and did what they needed to do to get off to a good start."
Freshman checked in as the third and fourth place performers for the Saints in Nick Miller (27:38.2) and Tom Higgins (27:58.0).
While familiar faces led the men, the women were paced by newcomers. The women ran 13th of 17 teams, but a positive sign was that the top two finishers were freshmen.
Christie MacFarlane led the Saints in her first collegiate race, posting a sub-20 time in the 5K at 19:38.4. Meanwhile classmate Molly Maguire, who had never run cross country before, placed second for the Saints with a time of 20:15.9.
"Neither Christie nor Molly has a lot of running experience, but both are great athletes," added Dow. "They have been training really well and I'm happy with where they are in their first meet."
Junior Sarah Palmer, competing in just her second collegiate race, finished an impressive third on the team with a time of 20:51.4, while junior captain Moira Hilt checked in fourth at 21:05.1.
The Saints return to the course next Saturday at the Br. Doyle Meet of Champions hosted by Iona in the Bronx. The race is set to begin at 10:15 a.m.