WORCESTER, Mass. - Expectations are high for the Worcester State University men’s and women’s cross country teams as they prepare to compete in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships Saturday at Mount Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown.
The women’s team enters the meet as the defending MASCAC Champions, after ending Westfield State’s 13-year reign in 2017. “The (women’s team is) going into this meet wanting and hoping to repeat as MASCAC champions,” said Worcester State head coach DJ Raboin. “However, they know this will be no walk in the park, and every runner needs to be at the top of their game physically and mentally.”
Five all-conference honorees from a year ago, Mia Rogers (North Dighton, Mass.), Elisabeth Olson (Wilmington, Mass.), Kelsey Bedard (Leominster, Mass.), Shaylee Puleo (Tewksbury, Mass.), and Riley Shaughnessy (New Bedford, Mass.), will look to lead the Lancers to the victory on the women’s side.
“Throughout this season these ladies have overcome a lot of new challenges, have put in some serious work, and have become a strong, fast, and confident unit,” said Raboin of his team. “This is what I believe sets our women’s team apart from others, we have incredible depth. The race still has to be run, but I believe something spectacular could occur Saturday if these women continue to do what they have been doing all season and bring their ‘A’ game.”
The Lancer men finished fourth at last season’s MASCAC Championships, but a talented and deep group of freshman has Raboin optimistic. “Both the men and the coaching staff believe we can finish in the top three. In fact, there are four teams (including our Lancers) that could find their way on the top spot on the podium, depending on the day.”
Rookies have led Worcester State in each of the team’s previous four meets this season, as both freshman Patrick Carleton (Tewksbury, Mass.) and Drew Fottler (Chelmsford, Mass.) have been the first Lancer men to cross the finish line. According to Raboin however, the Lancers will need contributions from all spots in the lineup. “Since this is a smaller championship meet, no one or two runner has the spotlight, rather every competitor on our roster matters - has a job to perform and a purpose. It will truly take a full team effort, and then some, to achieve the goal we believe is possible.”
All things considered, Raboin expects a fun one on Saturday. “The men's championship race will be a true barn burner.”
The women’s 5K race will get underway at 11 a.m. Saturday morning from Mount Greylock, with the men’s 8K following at 12 p.m. For the most up-to-the-minute updates from Williamstown, be sure to follow the MASCAC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and check out WSULancers.com after the event for the full story.