October 29, 2011

Women Place 2nd, Men 8th at NEC Cross Country Championships

(West Long Branch, NJ) – On a soggy course at Holmdel Park, Sacred Heart's Brittany Lane finished fourth overall (19.00.3) to lead the Pioneers to a second place finish at the Northeast Conference Championship Saturday afternoon.  The SHU men finished eighth, behind a third overall finish by Jeffery Lusignan (26:36.5).

Lane led three Pioneers who earned All-NEC honors on Saturday as Sacred Heart took home the runners-up trophy with 75 points. The Quinnipiac Bobcats won their seventh-straight title with a total of 44 points.  Monmouth finished third with 91 points while Central Connecticut (99) and Saint Francis (PA) (107) rounded out the top-five. Robert Morris accumulated 147 points while Bryant totaled 192 for sixth and seventh place, respectively. Mount St. Mary's placed eighth earning 221 while Wagner turned in a ninth place effort with 229 points. St. Francis (NY) (283), Fairleigh Dickinson (332) and Long Island (383) rounded out the 12-team field.

SHU's Alyssa Selmquist finished 12th (19:24.7) and Brittany Heninger came in 14th (19.31.4) to put them on the all-conference team with Lane.  Rounding out the SHU top-seven was Michelle Navarro in 20th (19:46.20), Brittany Llobell in 25th (19:51.90), Emma Bolduc in 33rd (20:11.40) and Teresa Gagliostro in 36th (20:15.30).

Lane improved on her 17th place finish from her freshman campaign.  Midway through the race she was between 12th and 13th place, but ran down opponent after opponent over the latter stages of the race. 

Selmquist improved a whopping 23 places on her 35th place finish from a year ago.                

"Going into the race, I thought Alyssa could crack the top 20 if she ran exceptionally well," said head coach Christian Morrison.  "Instead she went out and had the race of a lifetime.  An inspiring performance really.  She's such a dedicated, hardworking runner – I couldn't be more pleased for her." 

Improving on their third place finish from last season, the women have consistently placed near the top of the conference in cross country.  Starting with 2001, they have now finished second six times in the last 11 years.  They have also won one conference championship (2005), along with placing third twice, and fourth twice during that span.  Their lowest finish ever was fifth in 2000. 

"The women did a great job under very adverse conditions," said Morrison.  "Holmdel Park is a slow course to begin with, so to have five runners break 20 minutes in driving sleet, and on muddy, soggy footing is a credit to the group's will and toughness." 

On the men's side, Lusignan's third place finish placed him on the All-NEC team where he was joined by Christopher Connelly who finished seventh overall (26.50.3).  Lusignan earned All-Conference honors for the third consecutive season to become the only man in program history to accomplish this feat.

"Both Jeff and Chris ran smart, hard-nosed races," said Morrison.  "They positioned themselves nicely in the early stages of the race, and continued to move-up and improve their placing throughout.  I'm really proud of them."    

The Central Connecticut State Blue Devils won their third-straight NEC title, topping the field with a total of 54 points.  Saint Francis (PA) fell to runner-up status with 67 points. Mount Saint Mary's surged to a third place finish with 131 points, while Monmouth  (133) and Robert Morris (163) completed the top-five. Quinnipiac totaled 171 points for sixth while Wagner complied 173 for seventh. Sacred Heart's 178 took eighth while St. Francis (NY) (185), Bryant (195), Long Island (305) and Fairleigh Dickinson (326) completed the 12-team field.

Complete results and coverage can be found at the NEC Championship Headquarters.