By: David Woeltz ~Staff Writer~
Xavier hosted the Cross Country Big East Championships for the first time ever on Oct. 31. The meet was held at the Golf Center at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio.
The women’s team finished fourth overall against a Big East field that has claimed four of the last six NCAA titles, and the men’s team finished seventh overall as Georgetown took the men’s crown.
Freshman Caroline Gosser set a school record in the 6k by 22 seconds with a time of 20:24.5 to lead the Musketeers with a 16th place finish.
Senior Sarah Mazzei (20:26.5) and sophomore Madeline Britton (20:29.5) also put their names in the Xavier record books with the second and third fastest 6ks in school history, just behind Gosser in 17th and 18th place.
The trio of Gosser, Mazzei and Britton was named to the All-Big East Second Team.
“The women’s race was unbelievable. This was really two years in the making. We had some high goals last year, but we fell a little short with a young team,” head coach Ryan Orner said. “They spent the last year rededicating themselves and worked very hard to get where we know we can be in the conference.”
Senior Caterina Karas finished in 32nd place as she posted the seventh fastest 6k in school history (21:03.5) and junior Delainey Burnett rounded out the top five for the Musketeers in 45th place (21:35.6).
Xavier finished behind three conference foes ranked in the top 30 nationally, including Providence, who claimed its seventh Big East title, Georgetown and Villanova.
On the men’s side, sophomore Garrett Knapik finished the 8k course with a time of 24:28.2 for a 33rd place finish and the ninth fastest 8k in Xavier history.
Junior Aaron Peterson posted the 10th fastest 8k in Xavier history (24:59.5) earning him a 36th place finish. Avery Campbell, the junior from Ona, W.Va., finished in 48th (25:17.2) ahead of two other Xavier runners.
The men’s team finished one point shy of 6th place as eight runners posted personal bests. Xavier’s next meet is the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Nov. 13 in Madison, Wis.