The men’s and women’s cross country teams had a great start to their seasons at the 35th annual Fordham Fiasco/Ed Joyce Memorial Meet that took place at Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday, Sept. 12. The men’s team came in the number one spot with a combined team score of 16, while the women’s team finished in second place. This is a great achievement compared to last year, when the men’s team finished in second and the women’s team finished in third among the Division I programs.
The men’s team had a long line of runners coming in almost one right after the other. Senior Jonathan Annelli was the first runner to cross the finish line of the five mile race with a time of 26:26.03. He was followed closely by seniors Quincy O’Connor and Michael Turi, who came in at 26:32.25 and 26:34.03, respectively. Sophomore Thomas Slattery also finished in the top five, with a time of 26:40.90. Finishing between first place and eighteenth place out of twenty nine, the Fordham men’s team held a 33 point lead over Rutgers University, the second place team.
The women’s team also experienced a successful first meet. Their major competitor, Brown University, came in first. The first 19 spots were filled by the Brown and Fordham runners. Junior Brianne Roche, the first Ram to cross the finish line, came in tenth place with a time of 19:53.69. She was directly followed by sophomore Brynna Harum (20:02.68), and shortly after by sophomore Stephanie Leo finishing 13th (20:12.24), junior Shanna Heaney finishing 14th (20:32.69), senior Rachel Picard finishing 15th (21:02.21), junior Josephine Jacob-Dolan finishing 17th (21:31.20) and sophomore Clare Bollnow finishing 18th (21:46.03). In the end, the Fordham women had a team score of 50, securing them a second place finish over the other teams.
“Our top five girls all finished within about a minute of each other which is pretty impressive for a cross country race,” Heaney said.
Notably, the men’s cross country team enters this season ranked number 15 in the USTFCCCA preseason Northeast Regional Poll. The past year was highly successful for them, as they defended their IC4A University Division Championships and also received seven individual awards. The highest of these awards was Quincy O’Connor’s Division I National Athlete of the Week award received last October. This was the only time in Fordham history that a Ram achieved this recognition. At the NYC Metropolitan Championship, O’Connor glided into first place 20 seconds ahead of the rest, with Fordham’s Michael Turi finishing in second and Thomas Slattery in third. Fordham claimed the team title at this event for the first time in 50 years.
With the incredible achievements the team had last year, this was a great way to start off the new season, but there is still more to come.
“Overall, we were very pleased with the meet,” assistant coach Brian Horowitz said. “It was a solid season opener. Of course we were happy to get the win, but we are looking ahead to some bigger meets later this season.”
The results of this meet show just how hard the team practices, but that does not mean that they can stop. The results also serve as motivation for the team to keep up their hard work and surpass their previous expectations.
“While everyone was fairly happy with their races, now we have a better idea of what we need to work on for the future,” Roche said, “and we can tailor our workouts to include more hills and to work on finishing speed.”
The team next travels to Bronxville, New York to take part in the LIU-Post Invitational on Saturday Sept. 19.