GORHAM, Maine – The Worcester State University men's cross country team came in 32nd place of 55 teams competing at the Division III New England Cross Country Championships on Saturday (Nov. 11).
November 11, 2017
DIII New England Championships
1st Place: MIT (81)
2nd Place: Amherst (91)
3rd Place: Middlebury (124)
4th Place: Williams (137)
5th Place: Bates (211)
6th Place: Brandeis (215)
7th Place: Connecticut College (218)
8th Place: Tufts (259)
9th Place: Bowdoin (280)
10th Place: Southern Maine (313)
32nd Place: Worcester State (951)
WORCESTER STATE TOP-7
142nd Place: Dan Roy (28:01.2)
186th Place: Christian Vera (29:03.7)
187th Place: Joe Grider (29:05.0)
223rd Place: Marques Johnson (29:43.6)
234rd Place: Zack Lajeunesse (29:57.3)
241st Place: Patrick Scheeler (30:11.3)
277th Place: Carlos Nieves (31:11.0)
MIT's men's cross country team was named the 2017 Division III New England cross country champions on Saturday, as their top five runners came in the top-30 of 370 individuals running at the race. Amherst College came in second place with a team score of 91, which was ten points higher than the Engineers' team score. The individual winner of the meet was Sam Brunnette of Plymouth State, while Scott Mason and Dennis Maloney of Connecticut College and MIT, followed at the second and third slots.
Of the MASCAC schools, Fitchburg came in 12th place, while Bridgewater and Westfield came in 22nd and 25th places, respectively. The Lancers slid into 32nd place, while Framingham State came in 53rd. The Blue and Gold were paced by rookie Dan Roy (Dudley, Mass.) who finished the 8K run in a time of 28:01.2. Worcester State's Christian Vera (Worcester, Mass.) and Joe Grider (Hopedale, Mass.) finished the race together, notching 186th and 187th places. Marques Johnson (West Hartford, Conn.), Zack Lajeunesse (Dartmouth, Mass.), Patrick Scheeler (Wakefield, Mass.), and Carlos Nieves (Clinton, Mass.) also took part in today's event.
"For the last two weeks since MASCACs, we were looking to end the season at the NCAA regional meet on a positive note. After finally getting our health back, for the most part, we wanted to try to have our best race of the fall to culminate our season," commented head coach Al Halper. "Still not at full strength, the squad stepped it up and ran well. However, with the cold weather in the twenties and some gusty wind during the men's race, times did not indicate the effort given by the guys. Our team goal was to finish somewhere among the top half of those colleges represented at the meet. We finished in 32nd place overall and were able to get close to that goal given that 54 full teams as well a some partial teams competed."
Halper commented on the race, "As the race began, the team ran close together and remained that way as a pack through the first couple of miles. After that, there was some separation, but, individually, the team remained aggressive through out the race. Freshman Dan Roy ran perhaps his best race of the year, as he stayed focused to finish the top Lancer in the competition and the top freshman MASCAC finisher in the race. That is a good sign for the future. Juniors Christian Vera and Joe Grider worked through the race together to finish as the second and third Lancer competitors. Rounding out the top five were senior Marques Johnson and freshman Zach LaJeunesse. Vera has been the most consistent runner this fall while Grider had his best race of the season. Johnson moved steadily forward throughout the race after a conservative start and made up significant ground to pass a number of competitors in front of him. LaJeunesse went hard from the start and has improved throughout the season. He is still learning how to manage the 8K distance, but is developing into a solid college runner who will only get better with time. Also contributing were senior captain Pat Scheeler and junior Carlos Nieves. Pat ran well early on, though he struggled some over the final mile. His effort is always there week-to-week and his stability and leadership as captain helped this team prepare today. Carlos, who was fighting a cold this week, did not give in and put forth a solid effort. He can be counted on to give me whatever he has on a given day. Despite this not being his best race, he worked throughout the entire race to give it his best."