LEOMINSTER, Mass. – The Worcester State University men's cross country team opened its 2017 season with a solid performance at Fitchburg State's Jim Sheehan Memorial Alumni Invitational, as the Lancers finished in second place out of the five collegiate teams competing. Fitchburg took the top spot, while Worcester State took second. UMass Dartmouth, UMass Boston, and Cobleskill followed in the 3-5 spots, respectively.
September 2, 2017
Doyle Conservation Area
Several strong performances led the way as freshman Dan Roy (Dudley, Mass.), who ran with the leaders from the gun, finished 5th overall in his college debut. Senior captain, Devin Luce (Milford, Mass.), finished in 8th place overall after running conservatively for the first three miles before chasing down the front pack. Not too far behind was junior Christian Vera (Worcester, Mass.) in 12th place, who also, after a cautious start, ran stronger over the final two miles of the race to gain significantly on the front group.
Rounding out the top seven were Junior Joe Grider (Hopedale, Mass.) in 16th place, junior Carlos Nieves (Clinton, Mass.) in 23rd place, sophomore Richard Custodio (Wakefield, Mass.) in 25th place and junior Robert Davis (Acton, Mass.) in 27th place.
- 5th Place, Dan Roy (27:47)
- 8th Place, Devin Luce (28:08)
- 12th Place, Christian Vera (28:54)
- 16th Place, Joe Grider (29:18)
- 23rd Place, Carlos Nieves (29:53)
- 25th Place, Richard Custodio (29:55)
- 27th Place, Robert Davis (30:10)
"The team has been training together for the past two weeks with varying degrees of fitness among them," said head coach Al Halper. "As a result, I told the guys to not be too aggressive at the start for the first meet and to focus mainly on staying in contact with their teammates and the competitors around them."
"During the race, I pushed them to try to pass one runner at the time and to work on closing in on those in front of them and to minimize any gaps between them," said Halper. "The guys responded well to this, especially over the final 600m where many had a significant kick to finish ahead of one or more competitors in their final surge."
Halper went on to say, "I was happy with the way the team responded to the cues during the race and the adjustments most of them made along the way. I think overall we started this year ahead of pace from last year. Now we must keep it going in that direction."
As to Dan Roy's race, Halper stated, "Dan is going to have a significant impact on our success this year. He ran a good race and listened well to the race plan we discussed prior to the race. It is a great start for him in his first race. He can only improve as the season continues. This year, with Dan and veteran team leaders such as Devin Luce and Mike Ricci, the Lancers can hope to have a good pack up front in most races with a strong second pack trying to chase them down. In that way, we can to challenge other top teams more effectively and have a very successful season."
The cross country team will travel to Biddeford, Maine next week to take part in the University of New England Invitational at Rotary Park.