Strong spring season bodes well for Seton Hall cross country future

The Seton Hall men’s and women’s cross country team recently completed a successful spring season following the All-American Meet on Saturday, April 22. Both teams completed five meets throughout March and April in which the Pirates had strong showings from their runners across the board.

Two runners, juniors Christiana Rutkowski of the women’s team and Jake Simon of the men’s team, shined.

Rutowski’s will look to build on her strong junior year during her final season running as a Pirate. Photo via SHU Athletics.

When reflecting back on her season, Rutkowski said, “Coming into this season, I really wanted to bring my times down in as many races possible, so I had the mindset regardless of the race to take it as it comes. This helped me push myself and get the times I was looking for.”

Her mindset transitioned to success, as Rutkowski had a first place finish in the 1500-meter race at the Ursinis Invite, a first place finish in the 5000-meter at the All-American Meet and two second place finishes throughout the season. In addition, she ran in the 4×400 and 4×800 relays for the Pirates.

Simon had several impressive races throughout the spring season as well, such as a second place finish in the 1500-meter race at the Ursinis Invite, a top-five finish in the 1500 at the extremely competitive Delaware Open and a first place finish in the 3000 meter race to cap off a great season at the All-American Meet. He also played a key role in the men’s 4×800 team that finished second at the Osprey Open.

In addition to Simon’s and Rutkowski’s seasons, the Pirates had other impressive performances. At the Ursinis Invite, Emily Johnson and Kassi Yocco kept pace with Rutkowski in the 1500-meter and finished in second and fourth place, respectively. Sophomore Ricky Stephens finished first in the 5000-meter race with a time of 15:45, and sophomore Jared Moser was victorious in the arduous mixed 10000-meter run. After this strong showing, Simon said coach John Moon had some words of encouragement for the team.

“After the first meet and throughout the season, he would keep telling us that we’re going to keep getting better,” Simon recalled. “I think this encouragement definitely helped as a lot of us get personal records and run some great races.”

Next up at the Muhlenberg Invite, a myriad of Pirates hit the track, showing the depth that the team has. Senior Victor Ricci had a top 10 finish in the men’s 800-meter with a time of 2:01. Additionally, both women’s 4×400 teams had top 10 finishes. The Pirates had a strong overall showing at the Osprey Open, where three women and four men placed in the top 10 in the 1500-meter race.

Five men’s runners and two women’s runners ran their final race in a Pirate uniform this spring. Though it is always difficult to lose experience and talent, Simon believes in the returning team members’ ability to continue developing and performing at a high level.

“The seniors were a great presence as both athletes and leaders, but we have a bunch of guys ready to step up,” Simon said. “The team has grown really close this year, so we’re excited for what’s to come next season.”

In regards to the cross country season this upcoming fall, Rutkowski is extremely optimistic.

“It’s all about raising the bar and meeting those goals,” Rutkowski said. “Based off of this season I think we’re ready to take that step.”

With the results and optimism radiating from two key team members, promising times lie ahead Pirates upcoming cross country season this fall.

James Sherry can be reached at james.sherry@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @JSherry2324.

Author: James Sherry

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