By: Matt Stainbrook ~Guest Writer~
The Xavier men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the Queen City Invitational this past Friday, finishing fifth and second respectively. The race took place at Kingswood Park in Mason, Ohio, and was hosted by Northern Kentucky University.
As the season was beginning both teams were looking for strong starts to the season. Hot temperatures made for a tough test for all runners as they ran the five-kilometer race.
The men’s team, which ran first, was paced by freshman Garret Knapik, who finished with a time of 15:54 and placed 20th overall. Rounding out the top five for the Musketeers included senior Connor Buchholz (22nd), senior Corey Zielinski (27th), sophomore Aaron Peterson (32nd) and sophomore Grant Parelli (48th). Knapik noted that he was happy with his first collegiate race, and that he was pushed by his fellow teammates.
On the women’s side, freshman Gina Genco ran the fastest time for the Musketeers, notching a time of 18:35 and finishing fourth overall. Also finishing in the top ten on the Musketeers were senior Audrey Ramos (fifth), freshman Allison Sinning (ninth), and sophomore Meghan Vogel (10th).
Also competing for XU was junior Caterina Karas (11th), sophomore Delainey Burnett (22nd) and junior Sarah Mazzei (28th).
Coach Ryan Orner understood that the teams battled brutal conditions and thought that the men’s side had a good difference in the time between their first- and fifth place finishers (about 25 seconds). On the women’s side, Orner believed they had a phenomenal race, falling just behind Eastern Kentucky University for first place.
He also noted that the Musketeers held back three of their top returning runners because of the heat conditions.
The cross country teams will return to action amd race at the National Catholic Invitational on Sept. 19, when they travel to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.