By Jake Sauberman, news staff
After a strong season of running for the Northeastern University (NU) men’s and women’s cross country teams, the Huskies finished it out by dominating the IntercolIegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) meets in New York City.
The men’s team blew the competition away, taking first place out of 19 by a wide margin of 22 points. The women’s team was strong as well, finishing in a close third – just two points behind first place Monmouth – out of the 18 that competed.
Despite the successful results, it was somewhat of a bittersweet meet, as Nov. 19 marked the last time that senior Huskies would be running cross country for NU. However, the emotion clearly had little impact on seniors Paul Duffey and Jordan O’Dea, both of whom took first place overall in their respective races.
Duffey ran to a 25:41 time in the 8K run, finishing just ahead of sophomore teammate Dan Romano, who finished at a season-high second overall with a 25:50 time. Behind that anchoring duo was sophomore Michael Potter (5th, 25:52), freshman Cameron Dickson (25th, 26:42), freshman Chance Lamberth (36th, 26:58), sophomore Tucker McNinch (40th, 27:02), senior Patrick Cunningham (44th, 27:06) and senior Robert Macon (66th, 27:33).
“I was very happy to end my season finishing second to my teammate,” Romano said in an email to The Huntington News. “It was great to have three runners in the top five. The three of us stuck together at the back of the lead pack for the majority of the race and finished as hard as we could. It shows that we have a good group of guys performing at a high level.”
On the women’s side, following O’Dea’s (1st, 19:22) performance was sophomore Elizabeth Harrington (23rd, 19:22), freshman Louiza Wise (25th, 19:23), junior Kerri Ruffo (28th, 19:27), junior Brooke Wojeski (33rd, 19:30), freshman Amanda Hickey (34th, 19:30) and sophomore Amy Piccolo (55th, 19:59).
O’Dea, reflected on her final run with NU.
“This was my last ever collegiate cross country race so I couldn’t have been happier to end it with a first place finish,” she said. “Our girl’s team was trying to take home the win but we had some unexpected setbacks. However, that did not stop us from giving it our all and coming out with a third place finish, which is also the best our team has ever done.”
It was the second time this season that the men’s team had taken first place simultaneous to the women’s team setting their own personal record, following the team’s historic performance at the New England Championships. These successes have highlighted a noticeable difference in expectations between outside observers and the Northeastern runners.
“Nobody was expecting us to beat Brown to bring home a New England championship and nobody was expecting us to have three of our runners in the top five at IC4As,” Romano stated.
A performance of this caliber at the last meet of the season, however, puts the team in a great position to pick up where they left off heading into the winter track season. O’Dea spoke to the value of finishing strong before another competitive season.
“I expect to carry that momentum into the next season because I think that all of the strength that I have been building during the cross country season will definitely help me to be able to run some fast times, as well as continue to get stronger for the outdoor season,” she said.
After putting the bow on a very successful cross country season, the Northeastern runners will undoubtedly carry that warm sense of victory into the cold winter track season.