By Carley Crain
The men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the NEWMAC Championship on Saturday, Oct. 30 for the first time in two years. The men finished fourth overall with 97 points, right behind rival Babson. The women’s squad placed seventh in the championship race, as they tallied 205 points.
The wet and muddy conditions on the grassy golf course terrain at Wellesley were less than ideal for a competitive cross-country race. The runners were challenged to find good footing and placement.
“On rainy days we have to remind ourselves that everyone in the race is going through the same weather and is on the same course,” explained sophomore Kate Bonanno. “When racing in weather that might not be considered ideal, it’s all about changing your mindset to find the positives.”
The men’s 8k race kicked off at 11 a.m., as junior John Derosa led the Pride in the pouring rain with his highest postseason finish so far in his collegiate career, placing 20th with a time of 26:20, which was two minutes faster than his 2019 NEWMAC time. The duo of Rusell Allen and Christopher Vayda finished next, as they ran quick times of 26:48 and 27:08 respectively. Freshman Ricky Peruzzi and junior Adam Mula rounded out the scoring top five.
On the women’s side, junior Brenna LaChapelle led the way, as she clocked a time of 24:21 for the 6k race, which was about an 18-second improvement from her last NEWMAC Championship. LaChapelle and Bonanno worked together the entire race, and Bonanno finished right behind LaChapelle with a time of 24:29.
The senior duo of Heather Fontaine and Marissa Paolangeli placed third and fourth for the Pride. Due to chronic injuries, this was Paolangeli’s first time competing in the NEWMAC Championship, despite being on the team for four years.
First-year Shae Gallagher was the final scoring athlete for the women, as she also dipped under the 25-minute mark, running a 24:57 in her first NEWMAC Championship.
“NEWMACs was an amazing team day. Everyone started together on the same line for the first time this season and got an opportunity to put on a show and all work together,” said Bonanno. “We have raced the regional course once already this season, so it will be great to compare those times to now when we are tapered and fired up.”
The Pride now have a two-week break before their last meet of the season. They will compete against some of the best collegiate cross country teams at NCAA Division III Northeast Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 13.
Photo: Springfield College Athletics