By David Noonan ’22
The Holy Cross men’s and women’s cross country teams have been off to hot starts this season. Earlier this season, the two teams traveled to the University of New Hampshire to compete against UNH and Providence. Both teams had very solid outings, with the women’s team winning the meet outright. The men’s side also turned in some very strong performances, with the team 1-5 time average being as low as it had been in a number of years.
The next week, the men’s team traveled to Bryant University to compete in the Shawn Nassaney Invitational. At that meet, the Crusaders had a number of runners in the high 25s and low 26s for the five mile course. Sophomore Joe Leland was the first Crusader to cross the line, finishing in 25:49, good enough for 9th place. Sophomore Karter Seitz also broke 26 minutes, running to a 14th place time of 25:59. Freshman Liam Christman, in his debut XC 5-miler, ran 26:03, and senior captain Bobby Tuzzio ran 26:11, with freshman Brendan Fay not too far behind in 26:13.
Both the men’s and women’s teams then had a big weekend two weeks later. First, some of the members of both teams traveled to the University of Notre Dame to compete in the National Catholic Championships. On the women’s side, senior captain Jenna Gasparrini placed 8th, running a time of 18:08 over 5k in the brutally hot conditions. Junior Elizabeth Graves was not too far behind, finishing 12th in 18:22. Senior captain Allison McArdle rounded out the top three for the Crusaders, running 18:44, placing 22nd. As a team, the women had one of its best finishes at Notre Dame, finishing third out of 21 Division I teams.
On the men’s side, Seitz came in as the one-man for the Crusaders, running a time of 26:47, good enough for 28th place. Tuzzio was not too far behind, running 26:51, landing him in 30th place. Sophomore Andrew Corbett ran 27:30, which got him 50th place. As a team, the men also had one of its best finishes at Notre Dame, placing sixth out of 20 Division I teams.
Two weeks later, both teams traveled to Lehigh University to compete in the Paul Short Run Invitational. The women’s team had a solid performance. McArdle was the first Crusader finisher in the Women’s Gold Race, running 21:00 on the 6k course, good enough for 66th place. Gasparrini was literally right behind her in 67th place, running 21:01. As a team, the women placed 33rd out of 43 teams, in a field that included some of the best teams in the country.
The men’s team strung together its best performance of the season at Lehigh. The men finished 18th out of 45 teams in the Men’s Brown Race. Seitz was again the first finisher for Holy Cross, running a time of 25:28 on the 5-mile course, which was good for 67th place. Tuzzio placed 104th, running 25:45. Christman was not too far behind Tuzzio, placing 111th and running 25:48. Sophomores Leland and Corbett rounded out the Crusaders who broke 26 minutes on the course, both running 25:56 for 137th and 138th place, respectively. Sophomore Corey Kumamoto and senior captain Alex Campagna came in at 26:17 and 26:28.
We spoke with senior captain Alex Campagna about how the race played out for the team. “Paul Short was our first big race of the season, and we put together a really good team performance,” said Campagna. He added, “it was our fastest team average in over eight years, so we’re really hyped about that.”
Campagna also noted the strong performances put together by the underclassmen on the team halfway through the season. “I think we have a lot of promising young talent and there’s a lot of excitement amongst the team; however, the young bloods still have a lot to learn from us old heads,” said Campagna.
When asked about how he thinks the team will do at the upcoming Patriot League Championships on November 2 at Colgate, Campagna said, “Let’s put it this way: November 2 is going to be a tough day to be a Bucknell runner.”