WATERFORD, Conn. – The Worcester State University men's cross country team took 18th place of 20 teams competing in the Connecticut College Invitational with a field that contained a number of nationally ranked teams from both New Engaland and New York Saturday afternoon at Harness Memorial State Park.
October 7, 2017
Connecticut College Invitational
Harkness Memorial State Park
TOP-10 TEAM SCORES
1st Place: RPI (55)
2nd Place: Middlebury (77)
3rd Place: Connecticut College (124)
4th Place: Oneonta (130)
5th Place: Brandeis (142)
6th Place: Ramapo (158)
7th Place: Tufts (162)
8th Place: Babson (285)
9th Place: Trinity (302)
10th Place: Plattsburgh St. (303)
18th Place: Worcester State (563)
WORCESTER STATE TOP-7
114th Place: Dan Roy (27:37.7)
202nd Place: Marques Johnson (29:21.2)
204th Place: Joe Grider (29:27.7)
222nd Place: Zack Lajeunesse (30:00.9)
226th Place: Carlos Nieves (30:06.4)
228th Place: Patrick Scheeler (30:13.0)
241st Place: Richard Custodio (30:43.0)
RPI's Grant O'Connor earned the individual title and helped his team to the Connecticut College Invitational title as they came in 1st place with a score of 55. Middlebury came in 2nd place, while the hosts, Connecticut College, took 3rd place with a team score of 124.
The Worcester State University men's team came in 18th place of 20 schools competing. Leading the way for Worcester State was freshman standout, Dan Roy (Dudley, Mass.), who return to competition after sitting out several weeks. Roy ran the sloppy course in 27:37.7, placing 114th in an extremely deep competitive field. . Marques Johnson (West Hartford, Conn.) and Joe Grider (Hopedale, Mass.) came in at 202nd and 204th place, while Zachary LaJeunesse (Dartmouth, Mass.) and Carlos Nieves (Clinton, Mass.) rounded out the scoring with 22nd and 226th places, respectively.
Coach Al Halper commented, "It was great to have Dan back in the lineup. We are still working on getting everyone healthy and ready for conference. His being back in the lineup and his performance was a boost for the team overall. We are still running at less than full strength, but made significant progress over the past two weeks. We didn't know that the rain was going to hit us at the time of the race. Initially, since we had most of our guys back ready to race, we had planned to run an aggressive race at the start given the quality of the competition. However, with the weather being a factor, I told the guys to just run conservative and finish the race with a solid effort using it more like a workout. At this point, especially with the course becoming quite sloppy and muddy as the race continued, I didn't want to risk anyone on the team having a setback, since we have just gotten back into a good training groove."
Despite the conditions, The team had some good performances. According to Halper, "Marques Johnson has been running well this fall and has been very consistent week to week, running some of the best times of his career. He and Joe Grider started out conservatively and seemed to gain good momentum during the race, passing a number of competitors to finish strong despite their overall finish position. Freshman Zach LaJeunesse,ran with the two for most of the race before falling back some over the final mile.Zach is still figuring out how to run an 8K. He and the rest of the top seven were also among those who have less than 100% in the past few weeks missing workouts along the way. As a result, I was glad to see their progress today. Several others were rested to get a break from racing, including Christian Vera who has been my top guys the past few weeks. He and several others have had to step it up while others healed."
"Given the adversity this team has faced this season, I and proud to see how their work ethic has survived the challenges week to week," commented Halper. "Our hope is that we go into conference at full strength and pull out a few surprises overall. That will be the team's goal."
The cross country team will take a week off next week to prepare for the MASCAC Championships that will be hosted by Westfield State at Stanley Park on Saturday, October 28.