Bright and early in beautiful Florida weather the Siena men's and women's cross country teams toed the line at at the MAAC Championships. The men finished fifth overall while the women finished seventh overall. The men's fifth place finish is tied for the best in program history.
"Both the men and women had fine days," said head coach John Kenworthy. "We certainly performed on a level we are pleased with, but I don't think anyone is content with our team results. Matching last year's finishes is a nice accomplishment, the conference gets better every year and we have to work hard to keep that position."
"I'm excited the men finally got an All-MAAC finisher with Evans in 15th," noted Kenworthy. "Our men are deep and we need our pack to be tight to finish well. Today Evans set the tone and we had some men step up and run their best races but we have to improve our finishing spread if we want to crack that top tier of the MAAC."
For the men, Iona captured their 26th straight MAAC Championship, while Canisius (102) and Marist (104) rounded out the top three. Manhattan finished fourth with 109 points, followed by Siena who totaled 141 points.
After being picked to finish sixth in the preseason poll, the men battled the odds and finished fifth. Freshman Evans Kibet earned his first and Siena's first male All-Conference honor with his 15th place finish overall in the 8k with a time of 25:26.05. He has the second fastest freshman MAAC Championship time in Siena history, while also having the fourth best Siena freshman 8K time. Senior Nick Cornine was the next Saint to come through the chute at 25:48.71. He would finish 26th overall in his final MAAC Cross Country Championships.
William Randall finished 32nd overall with a time of 25:59.13. Senior Paolo Fiore came in with a time of 26:05.62, while Junior Shaun Van Buskirk finished in 26:10.16. Sophomores Jack O'Hara and Andrew Canavan rounded out the scoring for the Saints when they crossed in respective times of 26:11.21 and 26:18.37.
"The women's improvements don't show in the team standings, but we put ourselves in a position to be fourth and we just missed by 20 points," Kenworthy stated. "That's the closest we've been in this mid-standing pack in a long time."
The women who were picked seventh in the preseason poll, matched that with a seventh place overall finish. Iona reclaimed the crown back while Quinnipiac took second. Siena was just shy of Marist who finished in sixth with 140 points.
Sophomore Sarah Forman finished 13th overall for an All-Conference honor. She finished the 6k in 22:10.04. Her time is the second fastest MAAC Championship time in Siena history, while also being fourth best 6K time overall. Junior Kelly Pasko was not too far behind Forman as she finished in 22:38.19. Pasko also found herself on the Siena All-Time 6K list in ninth. Senior Shannon Bauer was the third Saint to cross the finish line in 22:51.25. Her time is the 16th best Siena 6K time in school history.
Junior Dominica Bleichert came through the chute at 23:13.47 to finish 39th overall, while senior Sydney Sericolo finished in 23:32.33. Freshman Camryn Johnson finished in 23:50.82, while sophomore Serena Rizzo rounded out the Siena scoring with her time of 23:56.30.
Nine men earned MAAC All-Academic Honors. Senior Eric Brower, Fiore, and Shane Fiust-Klink, juniors Chad Dashnaw, Travis Fairlee and Shaun VanBuskirk and sophomores Michael Mahoney, O'Hara and Adam Vaccaro. Eleven women were named to the MAAC All-Academic Team. Seniors Bauer, Russo, Annica Penn, Sericolo and Ursula Svoboda, junior Erin Morrell, and sophomores Forman, Meghan McDonough, Rizzo, and Abbi Wright.
Siena now moves onto the NCAA Northeast Regionals which will be held at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, New York. The Saints will be in action on Friday, Nov. 11 at 10:00 a.m.