Bobby Tuzzio ’20
The men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Buffalo, New York last Friday to compete at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships. The Lady Crusaders finished in 24th place out of 35 teams with a total of 644 points, with two runners from the team finishing inside the top 100.
Junior Jenna Gasparrini continued her dominant season, running a time of 22:25.2 on the six-kilometer course to finish in 24th place out of 243 runners. Her finish was the highest by any runner in the Patriot League, and earned her USTFCCCA All-Region honors. When asked how it felt to finish in the top 25 in the Northeast region, Gasparrini said “It feels great to finish in a such a big race with the best runners in the region.”
Her racing strategy has led to great success so far this season. She goes out hard with the top runners. By not going out conservative, she feels she doesn’t have to make up ground on people as the race develops. “My game plan going into the race was to go out fast and be tough through the second 2k,” said Gasparrini. “I didn’t get out as fast as I would have liked so I had to run on the outside of the course to get around people for the first 1k but after that everything played out well.”
The conditions were certainly not up to par. With the course drenched and muddy, and the fact that it was snowing during the race, the times were not quick by any stretch. When asked how the conditions affected her race, Gasparrini stated “The conditions made the race a lot slower and because of that we had to adapt to them.”
Junior Allison McArdle also had an impressive race, in which she placed 97th, clocking in at 23:39.3. Freshman Michaela Halloran finished in 157th place with a time of 24:26.2. Caitlin Tzimorotas was next for the Crusaders, placing 176th in 24:47.8. Freshman Katie Cass clocked in at 25:51.2 to finish 205th. Sophomore Elizabeth Graves was close behind in 210th, running a time of 25:57.6.
Gasparrini was proud of how the team finished. “I was very happy with how the rest of the team did,” said Gasparrini. “We beat a few teams that we didn’t beat earlier in the season and everyone ran very well given the poor conditions.”
This Saturday will be the last race of the season for the Lady Crusaders. They will compete at the ECAC/IC4A Championships at legendary Van Cortlandt Park in New York City. Gasparrini still thinks she has one more race in her after a long and grueling season. “My goals for ECAC’s is to be aggressive on the hills and use the competition to run a fast time,” said Gasparrini.
The men’s cross country team also ran at NCAA Northeast Regional Championships. Senior captain Joseph Prunty led the way for the Crusaders, placing 136th out of 241 with a time of 35:36.9 on the 10-kilometer course. Junior Robert Tuzzio was next in 165th, posting a time of 36:17.8.
Prunty ran a very smart race, especially in such tough conditions. Prunty stated: “My game plan was to go through the mile relaxed and put myself in position to move up from there. I actually fell back a few places before I was able to pull it together at the end and move up. If I had to do it over again, I would’ve tried to be more aggressive on that second and third mile so that I wouldn’t have lost any ground.”
This was the last NCAA Cross Country Regional Championship for senior Joe Prunty. When asked how felt about this, he responded “It felt great to get out there and compete with some of the best guys in the region. I’m definitely sad that I won’t get to compete in another NCAA XC regional meet, but I’m happy to have been given the opportunity to run this meet all four years of college.”
Freshman Corey Kumamoto placed 173rd in his first collegiate 10K race with a time of 36:37.8. Fellow rookie Andrew Corbett ran a time of 37:00.7, placing 192nd. Freshman Joseph Leland also ran his first collegiate 10K, placing 205th in a time of 37:34.8. Freshman Karter Seitz was right behind him, finishing 206th and running a time of 37:35.3. Sophomore Joseph Doerr rounded out the Crusader contingent in 208th place, clocking in at 37:43.7.
“I am happy with how the team placed because we were higher than last year,” said Prunty. “I know everyone gave their all so when everyone gives their best effort it’s hard not to be happy with that.
The men’s cross country team will also wrap up their season this Saturday at ECAC/IC4A Cross Country Championships. This will be the final cross country race of Joe Prunty’s career. For Prunty, a New York City native, this race will bring back fond memories. “My first ever cross country race was eight years ago at Van Cortlandt Park and that is where my last race will be for IC4As this weekend–I feel it’s a fitting end to my cross country career so I’m really excited to be racing there.”