WESTFIELD, Mass. – The men's cross country team came in 4th place of 7 teams in attendance at the 2017 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Cross Country Championship meet hosted by Westfield State at Stanley Park this Saturday (Oct.28). Fitchburg State University earned the team win, while Fitchburg State's Brian Amaral (Tewksbury, Mass.) earned the individual title, finishing the 8K in a time of 25:41.37.
1st Place: Fitchburg State (30)
2nd Place: Bridgewater State (34)
3rd Place: Westfield State (83)
4th Place: Worcester State (105)
5th Place: Mass Maritime (155)
6th Place: Mass. Liberal Arts (162)
7th Place: Framingham State (205)
WORCESTER STATE TOP-7
13st Place: Devin Luce (28:13.47)
15th Place: Dan Roy (28:44.09)
22st Place: Christian Vera (29:02.71)
34th Place: Marques Johnson (29:30.57)
36nd Place: Zack Lajeunesse (29:46.31)
37rd Place: Joe Grider (30:02.68)
38th Place: Patrick Scheeler (30:34.46)
The Men's cross country team, through a season of nagging injuries and illness, put their best foot forward at the 2017 MASCAC Cross Country Championship. As the day of competition arrived, the team regained most of its health though still sitting out a couple of runners of which could have had an impact on the overall team score. The majority of the team finished with better times than what they ran at the same course three weeks ago. With the many improved times for the Lancers it allowed them to be more competitive against the other runners. The Lancers as a team took 4th place overall at the Championship meet, finishing with a score of 105, just trailing Bridgewater State who finished in 3rd place with a score of 83.
The Lancers were led by senior captain Devin Luce (Milford, Mass.), who is the usual lead runner for this team, ran on this course for the first time this year and ran a strong race. Ten seconds behind Luce was freshman Dan Roy (Dudley, Mass.), who has impressed many by rising up to the occasion to run a fast time. He was the third freshman to cross the finish line. Junior Christian Vera (Worcester, Mass.) has been one of the most consistent runners for the Lancers on the year improving his time from the previous time he competed on this course. Senior Marques Johnson (West Hartford, Conn.) was also to run a course PR at his last MASCAC XC Championship meet. A huge course PR was ran by freshman Zack Lajeunesse (Dartmouth, Mass.) who had a 40 second course PR. Following closely behind LaJunesse was junior Joe Grider (Hopedale, Mass.), and senior Patrick Scheeler (Wakefield, Mass.) who both placed right next to the other.
Stated the team's mentor, Coach Al Halper, "The guys have made significant progress over the past several weeks in regaining their training base to where it should be at this point in the season. They ran a competitive race, but are still somewhat behind and finished short of their goal. The Lancers took home a solid fourth place overall as was the expectation, though we were hoping to surprise and move up a place or two. We started out quite well toward that goal as the race developed in the early stages. We were mixed in sufficiently with the other top competitors in the race. Going into the trails at around 2.5 miles and having to attack the large hill between 3 and 4 miles, the race broke down some for our team and they lost some ground coming onto the field for the final 1000m. Several of the guys ran a tough last 1000m and were able to repass several competitors and kick in hard to pass a few more. That said, we had about half the team turn in a PR, while most of the rest of the team was just off their PR, despite having to regain our early season conditioning level in just the past two to three weeks."
"We have made significant progress and will continue to get stronger for the final race at the NCAA regional qualifier to be held in Maine in two weeks," said Halper. "There we will have the same goals as this week, but hope to be two weeks stronger than now. We hope to beat some teams that we did not earlier in the season. Despite the uphill battle we fought all season, the guys responded well today and made significant strides to being where we should be in two more weeks. We have fought through adversity and now can think more positively about how we will finish the season. We had high hopes for the 2017 season especially with the talent level on this team. Now we feel we can respond in two weeks with our best race of the season and then it's on to the indoor track campaign."
Two weekends from today, the Lancers will travel to Portland, Maine to compete in the Division III New England Championship.
Release written by Ryan Connolly | Sports Information Intern