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The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

Hassman, Godish lead Northeastern cross country through dominant season

Abigail+Hassman+receives+a+medal+for+her+performance+at+the+NCAA+Northeast+Regional+Championships.+Hassman+claimed+fourth+place+in+the+womens+race+with+a+time+of+19%3A57.5.+Photo+courtesy+Northeastern+Athletics
Abigail Hassman receives a medal for her performance at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships. Hassman claimed fourth place in the women’s race with a time of 19:57.5. Photo courtesy Northeastern Athletics

With multiple first-place team finishes, two CAA Runners of the Year and representation in both the men’s and women’s NCAA Championships, the Northeastern cross country teams had a dominant season this fall. The cross country season is short, with only four local meets before the tournaments begin, but the Huskies trained hard and made themselves known quickly. 

“There’s really a sense of a single mindset and just a commitment to trying to succeed that I’ve seen definitely grow over my time here as we try and become a more respected program,” said junior Benjamin Godish, Northeastern’s sole male NCAA representative. 

Although associate head coach Matt Lonergan missed the start of the season due to injury, veteran athletes took it upon themselves to lead and give their team a solid foundation.

“Our captains definitely took on a greater leadership role,” Godish said. “The older guys really tried to lead everyone and make the best of a bad situation.”

At the Suffolk Short Course Classic Sept. 1, the Huskies started off their season strong. The women’s team earned second and the men’s team placed first, with individual champions in each. Freshman Natasha Sortland led the pack for the women while junior Tyler Brogan paved the way for the men. 

A week later, Northeastern traveled to Smithfield, Rhode Island for the Nassaney Invitational and came away with a clean sweep. Four men’s runners ended in the top 10, and five women’s runners, including the top three finishers, accomplished the same feat. While there was overall team success, there were also two prominent names that rose to the top of the rankings: Godish and senior Abigail Hassman. They each championed their respective races, but that was just the start of their immaculate season. 

“I think when you have a good, strong culture that fosters hard work and commitment and camaraderie … I think that’s what enables not just individual success, but team success,” said assistant coach John Murray.

To cap off the opening stretch of the season, the men’s and women’s teams split up. The men headed to the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown, finishing second, their lowest of the season thus far, and the women took on their first championship of the season. With three top-five finishers, they earned their first New England Cross Country Championship title to boost them toward the ECAC Championships.

Benjamin Godish races at the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown. Godish finished with a personal best of 24:00.6, earning a third place spot on Northeastern’s all-time 8k records. Photo courtesy Northeastern Athletics

“[The ECAC meet] was the first time our group had all come together and raced together since the beginning of the year,” Hassman said. “At that one, our goal was to go out and race like we hoped to do in the regional meet at the same course with the same kind of race strategy. That one was super fun because I think we came together well as a team and really just accomplished what we wanted to.”

That collective spirit paid off; both teams placed highly in their races, and all five athletes who placed in the top 10 secured a personal best. The women came in first, led by Hassman, who set a new program record for the 6k with a time of 20:39.1. Meanwhile, Godish won the 8k with a personal-best 23:55.6 to propel the men to a third-place finish. 

As the tournament season progressed, Hassman and Godish continued their reign straight through to the NCAA Championships. With individual victories, they led their respective teams to second and third place standings in the CAA Championships and were each named the conference’s Most Outstanding Performer. At the NCAA Northeast Regionals, Hassman broke her own 6k program record, less than a month after setting it, to finish fourth with a time of 19:57.5, and Godish’s personal best in the 8k earned him seventh. Both punched their ticket to the NCAA Championships, and Hassman’s accomplishment marked the first time a Northeastern women’s runner qualified for the meet. 

“It was really special,” Hassman said. “It was definitely a goal of mine coming back to win the CAA meet for the second year in a row … And then it was super special to be able to represent our team and our school at the national championship. It was a very special event and I was really excited to be there.”

Hassman and Godish were the only two CAA athletes at the national championship, representing the entire conference with their elite performances. Both competitions were comprised of 254 racers, and the two Huskies were able to beat out more than half the field. Hassman finished 94th overall and Godish placed 124th, putting them among the best of the best in the country. 

“You want the mindset to really always be the same, so you’re not getting too out of whack in terms of how you approach something,” Godish said. “Obviously, there’s going to be slightly more nerves, the stage may seem bigger, but in the end it’s all about trusting your teammates, trusting your coaches … and when you have a support group like I have, it’s really not too hard to lock in for things like that.”

Although Hassman and Godish made dominant runs this season, every member of the Northeastern cross country teams contributed to the program’s collective success. 

“[We’re] really committed to our effort, really committed to just being the best that we can be as people, as teammates, as students, as athletes,” Murray said. “And I think when you’re putting forth your best effort in all those fronts, when you bring it all together, you’re probably going to be able to maximize what you’re capable of.”

About the Contributor
Amelia Ballingall, Sports Editor
Amelia Ballingall is a third-year speech language pathology and audiology major. She is sports editor for The News and previously served as deputy sports editor and deputy design editor. She is also Vice President of Membership Development for Delta Phi Epsilon, the social media manager for Speech and Hearing Club, and a Student Success Guide on campus. Amelia is looking forward to another great semester with The News!
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