By P.J. Wright, news correspondent
The Northeastern University (NU) men’s and women’s cross country teams journeyed just a few miles south of campus to Franklin Park on Friday to compete in the annual Coast-to-Coast Battle of Beantown, hosted by Boston College.
The men’s squad finished in 12th place out of 21 teams in the 8,000-meter run, earning 348 points. Four of the top-five NU runners in the meet are in their first season wearing red and black.
Syracuse University, ranked the third-best team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, placed five runners in the top 10, scoring just 25 points on the afternoon with an average time of 24:01. In cross country, points are awarded based on the order the runners cross the finish line. The team with the fewest points wins.
Senior Nephat Maritim, a transfer student from Harvard University, made his debut for the Huskies on Friday.
He led the way for NU with a time of 24:48.3, placing 40th and earning himself the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Runner of the Week award.
“Nephat has emerged as a natural leader as expected,” Head Coach Cathrine Erickson said in an email to The News.
Sophomore Christian Stafford scored 57 points for Northeastern, timing in at 25:06.3, while freshman Dan Romano tallied 75 points of his own, coming in at a time of 25:24.4.
Romano won the CAA Runner of the Week award two weeks ago after the first meet of the season.
“Dan is a hard worker, and he is focused on getting better,” Erickson said. “His priorities are in line with what it takes to go from good to great.”
Romano attributes his success to the coaching staff, his support back home and the strength of his young team’s bond.
“We are really meshing well together and are very good at working with each other on everything from long runs to repeats,” Romano said. “We have a lot of team spirit and high goals for ourselves this season and in the seasons yet to come. The team has become remarkably close since we got here, and I think that we will only get closer. It’s going to be a good season.”
On the women’s side, Northeastern finished 21st overall out of 24 teams in the 5,000-meter run, scoring 628 points.
Junior Jordan O’Dea led the Huskies, finishing in 47th out of 206 runners, with a time of 17:53.2. Freshman Elizabeth Harrington came in 168th at 19:26.0, followed by freshman Camila Cortina in 181st, crossing the finish line at 19:48.3.
Much like the men’s squad, the Northeastern women have a young core in place that is showing potential.
“The young kids are great,” Erickson said. “They are extremely positive and hungry to excel, and we are genuinely enjoying coaching them.”
The Huskies will compete against other New England schools in the New England Championships on Oct. 10 in Boston.
The event will begin at 11:45 a.m. in Franklin Park.
Online results for the Coast-to-Coast Battle of Beantown can be found at https://www.directathletics.com/results/xc/8804.html
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics.