Both men’s and women’s cross country coaches Alex Gibby and Kathy Newberry stressed the importance of finding a team identity at the first true meet of the year – the Colonial Inter-Regional Challenge.
“We should come out with a good idea of where we need to go,” Newberry said prior to the meet.
On a muggy morning at the College’s home course (Eastern State Hospital/Dunbar Farms), the 23rd-ranked Tribe men edged past the University of Tennessee by seven points for the win.
Junior Ben Massan finished first in the race, posting a time of 24 minutes and 57.2 seconds over 8 kilometers. Fellow junior Colin Leak finished second in 25:04.1, while sophomore Patterson Wilhelm finished fourth overall in 25:09.5.
The Tribe trio paved the way for the College’s narrow victory, but Gibby and his team seemed unimpressed about the results.
“It’s not like we made bad decisions, we made no decisions,” Gibby said. “Win or lose, it really doesn’t matter at this point.”
He expected more from a young team, which is trying to work on finding its strengths and weaknesses.
“We have to bounce back and not let this get to our heads,” junior transfer Jon Grey, who finished 13th overall in 25:32, said.
The mood of the women’s team after the race was one of content optimism.
The Tribe finished 23 points behind race champion and eighth-ranked team in the country, Michigan State University. The Spartans swept the top three spots and placed its entire top seven within the first ten finishers.
For the Tribe, junior Emily Anderson led the way, finishing fourth overall with a time of 22:01.8 for 6-km. Junior Kayley Byrne followed Anderson to the line just eight seconds later to take sixth, whil senior Lynn Morelli finished seventh in 22:19.
“I was happy with the effort,” Newberry said. “I’ll be more concerned with the actual results in three weeks [at Pre-Nationals].”