The Seton Hall men and women’s cross country team will head south to compete in the Asics-Embry Riddle Classic on Saturday, Sept. 27 in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The event will be the fourth of the year for the Pirates’ who have also competed in Monmouth XC Kick-Off, Hofstra/St. John’s Fall Festival, and University of Delaware Invitational this year. Both the men and women’s teams have placed in the top three in each event they have competed in, and both have a 1st place finish on their record.
Head coach John Moon’s expectations for this event are “to try for some PR and accomplish some goals.” Moon also expects freshman Christiana Rutkowski, freshman Jeff Larson, and senior Kevin Walsh to stand out at this event.
Walsh, who took 11th place at the University of Delaware Invitational, had a personal record 8k time of 27:36:44. Larson also placed in the top 20 of the Pirates’ last event.
Christiana Rutkowski has proven to be one of the top runners for the women’s team as a freshman. She has had a team best time in each of the three previous events including a 23:26:70 at the 6K invitational in Delaware earning her fourth place out of 150 competitors.
Coach Moon has taken note of the team’s success early on. Especially “the vast improvement since last year. The team has come of age.”
The team has not competed in this event since 2012. Only seven active team members will be competing this year at the Asics-Embry Riddle Classic.
The competition is expected to be tough, but no tougher than what the Pirates’ have been facing all season all season according to Coach Moon, “It’s going to be tough competition. About the same level. The competition is tough each meet. As the competition gets tougher you want the team to rise to the occasion.”
Other Pirate notables heading into this event include freshman Jake Simon who has scored in three consecutive events and posted a team-leading 27:16:18 in his last 8K event.
Senior John Walsh, twin and teammate of Kevin Walsh, registered a 27:52:22 time that was good for 3rd overall for the Pirates’.
Newly-named Captain Victor Ricci and junior Walter Grosenheider both claimed top 25 finishes, but were not in the scoring group.
The women’s team hopes for continued improvement from newcomer Emily Johnson who ranked in the top-10 for the first time in her career in her last event.
Junior Amanda Quagila is also coming off of a personal-best 3rd place performance among the Pirates’ with a time of 24:32:73 in the 6K event.
As for motivation for this event, coach Moon puts it as simply as “self-pride.”
This Daytona Beach-based event should help “build the program, unity, and a sense of importance,” said Moon.
This year’s Pirates’ team is off to a fast start and will only look to build upon their early success at this event. They hope to set the tone for the rest of the season.
“The whole team is looking forward to this weekend,” Moon added.