The men’s and women’s cross country teams were both dominant this past weekend at the Shannon Henretty Invitational held at nearby Stevenson University, with both teams taking first place in competitive fields.
Senior captain Scott Pourshalchi led the way for the men’s team with a time of 26:28.83 to secure second place behind Stevenson’s own senior Langston Gash, who won his second consecutive race. Pourshalchi pulled into the finish line almost seven seconds behind Gash to give Hopkins two points.
Pourshalchi’s finish would start a trend for the men’s team, as six more Hopkins runners would pull in right behind their captain to take second through eighth: Sophomore Conner Delahanty finished four seconds later with a time of 26:32.96, fellow sophomore Patrick Dye followed suit with a finish at 26:36.74, senior Kevin Peters rounded up the top five less than a second after Dye at 26:37.18, and freshman Sean Laidlaw secured Hopkins six points with a time of 26:38.80.
Junior PJ Murray and grad student Panth Patel would take seventh and eighth respectively, giving Hopkins seven of the top eight spots.
Head Coach Bobby Van Allen reflected on the day.
“Our main focus for today was to really keep our packs together early and not get too caught up in the pace of the race. We moved up very well in the second half of the race to ultimately put our entire top seven in the top eight with just a 10 second gap between our first through fifth runners,” Van Allen said.
The performance of the top five of Hopkins gave the Blue Jays a score of 20 points, dominating the competition on their way to first place, with Stevenson taking second at 58 points and Messiah placing third with 67.
“I was very pleased with how well we executed today’s objective despite a very muddy/sloppy course. We did this while resting our top four runners from last weekend’s Mount St. Mary Duals as well and we’ll look to have our entire top 10 together for the first time in two weeks up in Boston,” Van Allen said. “Several guys really had some breakthrough races today as Pat Dye and Kevin Peters were able to put themselves in our top five along with freshman Sean Laidlaw. If we can continue to work together the rest of the season like we did today, we will be a very strong team at the NCAA Championships.”
The women of the Hopkins cross country team would dominate similarly, as they too would take seven of the top eight spots including a complete sweep of the top five spots.
Senior Felicia Körner blew by the competition despite missing the first race of the season. The team captain finished 36 seconds ahead of her teammate, sophomore Therese Olshanski, with a time of 22:48.31. Olshanski’s 23:24.03 was followed exactly a second later by junior Rebecca Grusby’s 23:25.03. Senior Gina D’Addario and freshman Arielle Summitt would follow in fourth and fifth respectively with finishes at 23:42.11 and 23:49.44 to give the Blue Jays the clean sweep and 15 points to cruise past Messiah and Eastern, who took second and third with 53 and 80 points respectively.
Also of note were the seventh and eighth place finishes of senior Shaina Palmer (23:53.82) and freshman Julianna Lazzari (23:57.10).
“For the women, again we rested many of our top girls and I was very pleased to see us still take the top five spots,” Van Allen said. “A lot of the freshmen shined in their first ever 6K race and we’ll continue to focus on staying healthy to be able to obtain our long-term season goals.”
The Blue Jays will compete next on Friday, Sept. 21 when they head to Boston College for the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown, with the gun set to fire at 3:00 p.m. for the women’s 5K, 3:45 p.m. for the men’s 8K, and 4:15 p.m. for the combined 5K.