By P.J. Wright, news correspondent
In the finale of the conference season, the Northeastern University (NU) men’s and women’s cross country teams came out of Laurel Hill Plantation with second- and seventh-place finishes, respectively, in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championships on Saturday morning in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
The College of William & Mary men and women dominated both races with 21 and 23 points, respectively. The men’s side won the 8,000-meter run, its 14th CAA title in a row. The five scoring men were in the top seven, with a spread of just 37.7 seconds. Senior Nephat Maritim led the Husky pack for the second-place men’s team, staying alongside William & Mary swarm for the entirety of the race. He finished the event in sixth place, with a time of 24:48.0.
Maritim has been a consistent force all year for NU, setting an example for the young runners with his work ethic in races and during practice, his coach said.
“Neph has really progressed over his collegiate career, and we are extremely thrilled to have him on the team,” Head Coach Cathrine Erickson said in an email to The News. “He is an extremely positive member of our program who has high expectations of himself in addition to being a great mentor to our young men.”
Other NU top-15 finishers in the men’s race included sophomore Christian Stafford in eighth place with a time of 25:02.7 and junior Paul Duffey in 14th, coming in at 25:29.4.
On the women’s side, the 6,000-meter event was the longest distance the team has had to run all year – 1,000 meters longer than their usual 5K.
For the seventh-place squad, sophomore Brooke Wojeski headed the Husky effort, coming in 26th place at 22:07.5, with her junior running mate Jordan O’Dea finishing right behind at 22:09.1 for 27th place.
Erickson has been pleased with the mentality the two leaders have demonstrated as the year has progressed.
“I believe they are both very, very hard workers. They are dedicated to doing well and doing the little things well,” Erickson said.
As Northeastern’s season edges closer to the end, Erickson says the team must stay mentally tough and not lose concentration.
“Right now, our teams are so young that we are looking for them to stay focused and get ready to compete at the NCAA regional meet and the IC4A/ECAC Championships,” she said.
Both teams will resume their championship seasons in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Northeastern Regional Championship in Boston on Friday, Nov. 3 – their first event back at home since Oct. 10.
Photo courtesy Kelsey Sullivan, Northeastern Athletics