On Friday, Sept. 20 the men’s and women’s cross-country teams travelled to Bronx, N.Y. to compete in the Iona Meet of Champions.
The men’s team competed against 17 teams, 12 of which were Division-I programs.
The women’s team competed against 15 teams, 11 of which were Division-I programs. Despite the tough competition, both teams performed well.
Both teams previously competed in the Mount Saint Mary’s Duals, where they both went undefeated to start their seasons.
Junior Patrick Dye talked about preparation for the event. “Van Cortlandt Park is an extremely hilly course, so for the past two weeks, we had been doing a lot of our workouts at some of the hillier places around Baltimore,” he said.
“Then [head coach] Bobby [van Allen] has always really emphasized packing up and running together during the race, so during workouts we would make sure that we worked together and ran each rep as a team.”
The women’s team ran very well at the event, with senior Rebecca Grusby, who came in eighth place with a time of 18:14.9, leading the way. Although she was the team’s only top-10 finisher, she was followed closely by junior Therese Olshanski who came in 15th place with a time of 18:29.6.
The third top-20 finisher was senior Sam Levy, who came in 17th place with a time of 18:34.0. The last two top finishers were junior Ariel Keklak, who finished in 29th with a time of 18:50.9 and sophomore Arielle Summitt, who finished in 33rd with a time of 18:56.0.
Senior Kristin Meek placed 35th with a time of 19:00.4, and freshman Callie Jones finished in 41st with a time of 19:07.1.
Altogether those top-five finishers left Hopkins with 102 points, good enough for fourth place out of the 16 teams.
They finished only four points behind third-place La Salle University. They were the highest-placing non-Division-I team at the event, finishing ahead of eight Division-I programs.
The Columbia University Lions ultimately came in first place, taking the three fastest times.
The men’s team also had a solid outing. Senior Andrew King was the top finisher for the men, landing in 19th place with a time of 25:38.7. King was also the frontrunner at the Blue Jays’ last race three weeks ago.
Following him in the top-30 were junior Jared Pangallozzi, who finished in 21st place with a time of 25:42.6 and sophomore Sean Laidlaw, who finished 29th with a time of 25:57.9.
The other two top finishers for the Blue Jays were junior Conner Delahanty, who finished in 40th place with a time of 26:11.5 and freshman Declan Hines, who finished 42nd with a time of 26:13.3.
Other finishers for the men included Dye, who finished in 49th place with a time of 26:26.1 and senior Vipul Bhat, who finished in 53rd place with a time of 26:31.6.
The Blue Jays were left with 151 points, landing them in seventh place out of the 18 teams. They, like the women, were the top-placing non-Division-I team and finished ahead of six Division-I programs.
The hosting Iona Gaels were able to win first place at their own event with three top-five finishers.
Dye talked about what it means to compete against Division-I opponents. “It’s definitely cool looking at the results after a race and seeing how many D-I teams we beat, but going into the race, I’d say we’re really only concerned with ourselves and executing our race plan.”
The men’s and women’s teams will be attending the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa. and the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky. Both of these events will be held on Oct. 5.
Dye reflected on this weekend’s race as he looked toward the team’s next event.
“I’d say the main takeaway is that we’ve got a really talented team this year, and if we keep putting in the work and effort, we’re going to be in a really good position come November,” he said.
“As for the next race we’ll be heading to Louisville for pre-Nationals, and I think we really just want to keep working together and improving as a team.”
Both teams are facing a lot of pressure as they only have three events in October before the Centennial Conference Championships take place on Nov. 2.
So far they have largely found the success they have been looking for, but only time will tell if they are able to keep it up.