By Jake Sauberman, news correspondent 

The Northeastern University (NU) cross country teams lined up for the Central Connecticut State University Mini Meet on Friday, and ran to solid finishes on the men’s and women’s sides. This meet provided NU a chance for a talent evaluation before the Colonial Athletic Association Championships on Oct. 29

The men’s team finished eighth out of the 16 competing schools. They were led by sophomore Dan Paiva, who ran the 5K in 15:39, securing 29th overall. He was followed by freshman Luke Novak (40th, 15:51), junior James Garbier (42nd, 15:52), sophomore Michael Duggan (72nd, 16:22), junior Daniel Condon (73rd, 16:22), sophomore Scott McCluskey (76th, 16:26) and freshman Jackson Neri (82nd, 16:45).

On the women’s side, the Huskies mustered a 14th place finish in their 3K race. Sophomore Edlyn Gulama led the way, finishing 61st overall with a 11:07 time. Finishing behind her was junior Corinne Myers (75th, 11:15), sophomore Camila Cortina (76th, 11:20), sophomore Audrey Weyand (80th, 11:25), sophomore Kathryn Hanlon (86th, 11:32), junior Madeline Bradford (94th, 11:42) and junior Melissa Michels (113th, 14:55).

Head coach Catherine Erickson said she is confident about her team’s standing following the meet.

“We definitely feel that the teams are ready for CAA’s,” she said in an email to The News. “Especially after a historic performance at the New England Championships last weekend.”

For teams like NU competing to win in the CAA Championships, mini meets can be essential for deciding on the optimal lineup. Runners on the cusp of cracking the starting seven have the chance to make their case, and those who have a place in next weekend’s race get the extra experience under their belts<<.

Erickson said she hasn’t closed the door on possible late roster changes.

“We had a number of good efforts from the group,” she said. “We will see where we are on Monday and make decisions from there.”

Meanwhile, the Huskies’ top men’s runners like Paul Duffey and Craig Hammond and women’s runners like Jordan O’Dea and Louiza Wise, used this week to continue their practice regiments in anticipation of next weekend.

“Whether they raced or not, it’s all a part of the bigger plan,” Erickson said. “Those who raced had a different training week than those who didn’t. The coaches plan very effectively and take everything into consideration when setting the plan up.”

Looking to next weekend, there is plenty of reason for optimism around NU’s chances in the CAA Championships. Coach Erickson looks to build on the team’s unprecedented momentum by instilling her optimistic message in her athletes.

“We are very pleased with how the men and women’s teams finished [two weeks ago] and it is clear that the athletes and distance coaches have worked very hard to attain such historic finishes,” Erickson said. “I am very proud of them and thrilled that the program cracked into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association top-10 Regional Rankings after beating Brown to win the New England Championship. The last time the men’s program won was 1972.”

Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics.