The Leopard Invitation at Lafayette College was a very important meet Saturday morning for both cross country teams, as they sought the opportunity to build some momentum before the Big East Championship. The Pirate men finished fourth out of seven, and the women’s team finished fourth out of five.
For the women, three runners, senior Desyre Blackburn, sophomore Kiley Britten and junior Christiana Rutkowski all finished in the top-15 with sub-six and a half minute times on their average miles in the 6k race. This marked Rutkowski’s twelfth time out her thirteen career races leading the times for the women. Britten’s time was good enough to get her a second top-10 finish in her sophomore season. Blackburn finished with the third fastest time, 23:12.83, for the Pirates.
There were four runners for Seton Hall that were able to get top-30 finishes: senior Sean Kip and juniors Louis Bustamente, Jake Simon and Jarod Moser. Moser had the fastest time out of the men, with his solid performance led to a twelfth place for one of his better runs of the season. Kip and Bustamente finished back-to-back in the rankings, separated by a two tenths of a second for average mile times. Simon also had a noteworthy top-25 finish with the time of 27:09.56 in the 8k race.
The Pirates now have two weeks to prepare for their next meet, the Big East Championship.
The 2016 Big East Championship will serve as a tall task for the women as they face two top-25 teams in the country, including the top-ranked Friars of Providence, who captured the title in 2015. The men also have no easy challenge, as they will go toe-to-toe with two top-25 teams, the reigning champion Georgetown Hoyas and Providence. The Big East Championship will be held Friday, Oct. 28, at 10 a.m in the Bronx.
Evando Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Thompsev.