The men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to the University of Delaware Invitational this weekend.
The women’s team is fresh off of a first-place finish at the Hofstra/St. John’s Fall Festival last weekend. The team will have to fight through some key injuries in order to repeat at first place.
“It’s going to be tough for some of the girls,” coach John Moon said. “One of our captains has tendonitis, so we’re going to let her rest. I’m looking for our young freshmen to step up, and they’re the caliber of athletes that will be able to step up for us. We should still finish in the top three.”
On the men’s side, Moon expects equally high results. The team placed third at the Monmouth XC Kick-Off on August 30, and then earned a second-place finish at the Hofstra/St. John’s Fall Festival last weekend. The team will look to continue improving this weekend.
“The men have vastly improved, only lost by two points last week,” Moon noted. “Our workouts have been fantastic, we’re getting better and better. When you do individual team sports, the key is getting everyone to click at one time. We need the veterans on the men’s team to click this weekend. We’re confident that they will run well.”
When asked which runners specifically he was looking to step up at Delaware, Moon pointed to sophomore Victor Ricci, freshmen Jeff Larson and junior Ryan Flannery. Moon talked about their hard work throughout the season, and expects quality results from them this weekend.
At the Hofsta/St. John’s Fall Festival, Ricci placed 16th with a 16:29.8 in the 5K event, the 10th scoring effort of his career.
“I’m really happy with our teams,” Moon said. “Each year, it seems like both teams get better and better. There’s always room for improvement, of course. But we’re on a good road.”
Moon also pointed out that this is the first time this year that the men will run an 8K and the women will run a 6K, both NCAA measurements. Previously, the teams had been running 4K and 5K distances, respectively.
The Delaware meet will feature 10 schools, and will be a mix between Division I and II teams. The Pirates have been training rigorously with quality distance and interval training, running miles at a five-minute pace each morning at 7 a.m.
Moon is confident that both the men’s and the women’s team will experience continued success. Both teams have improved in each of their first two meets.
The women will look to stay in the hunt for first place this weekend, while the men, who nearly grabbed the top spot last weekend, will look to earn their first first-place finish of the season.
The Big East Championship, which will be held on October 31, is less than two months away.
After this weekend, the Pirates will travel to the Asics-Embry Riddle Classic in Daytona Beach, Florida, and then to the Metropolitan Championships in the Bronx.
Thomas Duffy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @TJDhoops.