(New Britain, CT) - The Sacred Heart Cross Country teams opened the 2010 season at the 22nd Annual CCSU Cross Country Invitational Saturday afternoon at Stanley Quarter Park, with the men's team taking second place out of nine teams and the women's team finishing fifth out of ten .
Brendan Rickertt (Danbury, CT), Richard Marcello (Foster, RI), and Andrew Sullivan (Ellington, CT) each finished sixth, seventh, and eighth respectfully with identical times of 26:46 to help lead the men's team to a top finish among the six participating Northeast Conference schools. It was the third career top-ten finish for Marcello and second for Sullivan and Rickert. The NEC Championships will also be held at Stanley Quarter Park on Oct. 30th this year. The Pioneers averaged a finish time 27:01 and 62 total team points behind Providence College's 30 first place points.
"This race was a good confidence builder for the men," said Head Coach Christian Morrison. "We had very low expectations going in, because it was our first race of the year, and everyone is tired from all the miles they're running right now. We were just hoping for a reasonably solid race, so it was a pleasant surprise to place second as a team and have our top five run as fast as they did."
Kimberly DeLoreto (Hillsdale, NJ) led the Women's team by finishing fourth overall with a time of 18:03, helping pace the Pioneers to an average finish time of 19:16 and 147 team points behind PC's 25 first place points. It was her seventh career top-five finish, and missed setting the Sacred Heart record for the Stanley Quarter park course by one second.
"I think the women are off to a good start," said Morrison. "With it being our first race, the rust was quite evident. In addition, I've worked them very hard the past couple of weeks, so they're just tired right now. Given all that, I was pretty happy to have eight women go under 20 minutes today."
Rounding out the top seven for the men's team were Daniel Koehler in 14th (27:07), Stephen Benoit (Wethersfield, CT) in 27th (27:37), Andrew Houghtalen (West Charlton, NY) in 28th (27:41), and Colin Seidl (Cochecton, NY) in 52nd (28:46). Benoit ran a personal best for five miles by 22 seconds, finsihing in the SHU top seven for the first time in his career.
For the women, SHU's top seven were Megan Papp (Niantic, CT) in 32nd (19:27), Brittney Lane (Greenwich, NY) in 33rd (19:33) Olivia Civardi (Brightwaters, NY) in 37th(19:36), Alyssa Selmquist (Northford, CT) in 41st (19:38), Michelle Navarro (Piscataway, NJ) in 45th(19:46), Brittany Llobell (West Sayville, NY) in 47th (19:47).
The Pioneers will next compete in the 34th Annual Fairfield Invitational at Fairfield University Saturday, September 25th at 11:00 a.m.