By P.J. Wright, news correspondent
Competing against some of the top talent in the nation, the Northeastern University (NU) women’s and men’s cross country teams each earned top-25 finishes in the 2015 National Collegiate Athletic Association Northeast Regional Championship on Friday afternoon at Franklin Park in Boston.
The NU women finished the 6,000-meter run in 16th place out of 38 teams with an average time of 22:42. Junior Jordan O’Dea led the way, crossing the line at 21:38, with sophomore Brooke Wojeski and freshman Emma Boutcher both having solid races behind her – finishing at 22:15 and 22:56, respectively.
The team finished just ahead of its New England rivals, University of Massachusetts Amherst (19th) and Boston University (26th), after losing to both teams in October at the New England Championships.
Northeastern Head Coach Cathrine Erickson was happy to see the three runners set the pace for the women’s side.
“I was pleased that they ran so well,” Erickson said in an email to The News. “With Brooke and Emma just recently joining us, we are getting to know them as student-athletes, and we continue to be pleased with how well they approach each race.”
In the men’s race, dominated by second-ranked Syracuse University claiming the top-three spots, NU finished the 10,000-meter run in 22nd place out of 37 teams, averaging 32:52 and defeating regional foes University of Vermont (24th) and University of New Hampshire (30th). The team was bested by University of Massachusetts (12th) and Boston University (19th).
Fifth-year graduate student Nephat Maritim also had a strong race, finishing at 31:28, to earn 31st place.
“Nephat was looking forward to having a good race,” Erickson said. “He has had a great year so far and is genuinely grateful for how well things are going in his running career at Northeastern.”
Sophomore Christian Stafford also had a solid showing with a 62nd-place time of 31:57. Stafford has cemented himself as one of the top young runners in the Colonial Athletic Association, and Erickson has been pleased with his improvements in his second year.
“Christian is right on track with where we expect him to be, and we expect him to really make a big impact on the track as the season progresses,” Erickson said.
The Northeastern squads will continue their championship season on Saturday when they visit Richmond, Va. for the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America/Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships.
Photo courtesy Northeastern Athletics