The Jays had impressive performances against Division-I competition.
This past weekend, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams travelled up to Boston, Mass. for the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown to compete against Division-I competition. Both teams had strong performances, with the men taking 13th out of 23 teams and the women placing 15th out of 24 schools.
The men’s team stayed grouped up throughout the race, as all 10 of the Hopkins runners finished within a minute and a half of each other. Leading the way for the Blue Jays was sophomore Jared Pangallozzi, who finished the eight kilometer race in 25 minutes and 22 seconds, earning him 60th place overall.
Senior Oliver Hickson and junior Andrew King were the next two to finish for Hopkins, coming in 78th and 80th place, respectively. The two were within one second of each other, with Hickson finishing the race in 25:35 and King finishing in 25:36.
Junior PJ Murray was next to finish, crossing the finish line in 100th place with a time of 25:45. Closing out the scoring for the Blue Jays was senior Scott Pourshalchi, whose time of 25:59 was good enough for 126th place.
As the only Division-III team competing at the race, Hopkins’ performance was impressive. With 415 points, the Blue Jays finished ahead of four teams that were regionally ranked in the most recent U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association rankings. This success will be very motivating to the team moving forward.
Pangallozi commented on the team’s overall performance.
“The fact that we beat some teams that were ranked well in their region proves that we can stick with plenty of Division-I teams. Boston definitely gave us a lot of confidence. I think it just adds to our excitement for the upcoming season and has shown that when we pack up and motivate each other throughout our races is when we perform our best,” Pangallozi said.
In the women’s five kilometer race, the Blue Jays were led by senior Ellie Clawson, who finished in 46th place with a time of 18:05. Clawson was followed close behind by junior Sam Levy at 18:16 and senior Felicia Körner at 18:28 for 65th and 84th overall, respectively.
Sophomores Therese Olshanski and Ariel Keklak closed out the top five for Hopkins, as they placed 96th and 109th, respectively, with times of 18:36 and 18:44. Hopkins finished the race with 378 points. Of the nine teams they finished ahead of, five were regionally ranked. The stiff competition brought out the best in many of the Blue Jay runners.
Clawson reflected on the weekend’s competition.
“Having so many good competitors also just makes it more fun, which helps everyone out as well,” Clawson said.
The high intensity of racing against some of the country’s top teams will help the team deal with tough competition going forward.
“Competing against Division-I can feel more intimidating because of how legit some of the runners are. However, it also feels like less pressure than when we compete against D-III teams, since those are our true competitors who we will be fighting against during the championship season,” Clawson added.
The very next day, the Blue Jays who did not participate in the Coast-to-Coast Battle participated in the Dickinson Long/Short Invitational. In the short race, all five of the Hopkins men’s runners finished within 25 seconds of one another, between 13:25 and 13:47, which was good enough for a seventh place finish.
In the long race, junior Aditya Joshi took first place with a time of 26:39, and the rest of his Blue Jay teammates were all within 40 seconds of him, securing the team second place behind the U.S. Naval Academy.
The women’s team also competed at the Invitational. In the short race freshman Grace Tate led the way for the Blue Jays, finishing 15th overall with a time of 15:37.
The Blue Jays’ pack running showed up in force, as junior Makenzie Wilkinson, freshman Sydney Santos and junior Audrey Hazel finished in 50th, 51st and 53rd respectively, all within two seconds of each other.
In the long race, Hopkins had three top 10 finishers. Sophomore Ava Kelly finished in fifth place, sophomore Leigha Martin finished in ninth place and senior Julia Chang finished right behind her in 10th place.
The strong showing earned the Blue Jays a second place finish and a solid end to a very busy weekend. As the season progresses, this past weekend will be a very important learning opportunity for the entire team, as well as a reason for excitement.
“We definitely learned a lot from this race that we can apply to this weekend and other future races! Hyped to see what we all can do,” Clawson said.
The Blue Jays will be back in action this Saturday, as they head to Lehigh University for the Paul Short Invitational, at which they will once again match up against Division-I schools.