Cross Country Blog: Skyhawks Compete at Minutemen Invite

By Caroline McBride, Stonehill College

Last weekend, the Stonehill women's cross country teams impressed at the Minutemen Invite hosted by UMass Amherst.  The field was incredibly competitive, including Division-I Boston College and some nationally ranked Division III teams like Amherst College.  But, the women showed up ready to fight and we did just that.  The Skyhawks earned second place out of the six teams that competed, scoring 78 points.

The course was deceivingly challenging — more mentally than physically, in my opinion.  The uneven ground and gradual hills didn't appear difficult at first glance.  Yet, from the moment the gun went off it was tough to get into a rhythm.  This makes me even more proud of my team.  It was obvious by the expressions on my teammates' faces as they finished, that everyone had remained physically and mentally tough despite the challenges the course posed.  We had a few great packs going and only a 22-second difference between our fifth and first runners.  The race was won by Jillian King from Boston College.

This race was the season opener for many of the Stonehill women.  I was the first Skyhawk to complete the 5-kilometer course in a time of 19:08 for a 16th-place finish.  Chelsea Bishop and Sarah Biggers ran impressive races and finished strong, pushing each other to 20th and 21st place finishes, respectively.  Their times of 19:11 and 19:12 show a great deal of promise for the rest of the season, especially given the tough course.

Shortly behind our top three, Brianna Venturo and Erin Carmone finished neck and neck helping each other earn 26th and 27th place, respectively.  Brianna finished in 19:30.19 and Erin was right on her heels in 19:30.98.  Their finishes rounded out the top-5 and displayed the team support and depth that our squad possesses this fall.
The finish of the women's race was captured on video by my teammate Paul Cina and can be seen below.

On another note, our trip to Umass Amherst gave us the chance to eat lunch in the Southwest Dining hall on their campus.  The buffet/all-you-can-eat style of dining was different than the system at Stonehill.  Needless to say, we were like kids in a candy store, taking full advantage of the ice cream machines and endless food...especially Boomer who may have gone overboard with the mini-burgers.  It was nice to sit down with teammates over a real meal and celebrate our races, rather than follow our usual routine of eating subs on the bus ride home.  Shout out to Coach Hart for suggesting this one!

The performances on Saturday were great indicators of our fitness, especially given the mileage we have under our legs at this point.  Still, Sunday morning we were back to work for our long run.  The run went better than expected, although I know personally I usually feel the race more on Monday.  Even so, the cool weather was a nice change and the 12 miles didn't feel so long.   

Let it be known that Stonehill was the not the only women's XC team in the NE-10 to impress this weekend.  The Bentley ladies, led by Senior Caitlin Fahey, finished 11th of 38 teams at the UMass Darmouth Invite.  Caitlin completed the 5K in 18:47 … nice job!

The UMass Lowell Riverhawks hosted an invitational at Mines Falls in Nashua, N.H.  This is where the DII Regional Meet will be held in November.  Many NE-10 ladies performed incredibly well at this meet, including Courtney Dinnan of Southern Connecticut, who took first in a time of 18:19.  Betsey Eickelberg and teammate Jacqueline Kaste of Adelphi finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.  Congrats to these women, along with many other NE-10 women who raced well at the Riverhawk Invite!

The next week will be a big training week for the Stonehill women since we are not racing next weekend.  It'll be a good chance to get some miles in, along with high quality workouts that will pay off later in the season.  The UMass Invite was a great indicator and will certainly propel us through a tough week of training.  I'll check in again after the Paul Short Invite, hosted by Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which the Skyhawks will be competing in on Friday Sept. 28.  I have a feeling I'll have another impressive team performance to report on.