Sept. 12, 2009
BRONX, N.Y. (September 12, 2009) - The Sacred Heart men's cross country kicked-off the 2009 season in impressive fashion Saturday afternoon, taking home the team title with three runners finishing in the top-15 at the Fordham Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park. On the women's side, the Pioneers took home sixth place overall with a pair of runners coming home in the top-30 finishers.
The win for the Pioneer men is the sixth team victory for the program and the first since Sacred Heart won the 2007 Fairfield University Invitational. SHU outpaced a field of 16 teams finishing with 64 total points, 25 points better than second place finisher East Stroudsburg University. The Pioneers posted wins over Rutgers and St. Jospeh's for the first time in school history while the victory marked the first ever win at the event for either team.
"The men put together a nice team effort today, and this victory sets the tone for us to have a successful season," stated head coach Christian Morrison. "The really good news, though, is that we can definitely run a lot better."
Junior Andrew Houghtalen (West Charlton, NY) led the Pioneer charge earning his first career top-five finish, clocking in at 27:21.06, good for fourth place. Also running in the top-10 was sophomore Richard Marcello (Foster, RI), his first career top-10 finish. Marcello took home seventh overall with a time of 27:29.51 to notch his first career top-10 finish. Senior Brendan Rickert (Danbury, CT) posted a strong 11th place finish crossing the tape in a time of 27:39.44 to help guide the way to a Pioneer win.
SHU's top-five finishers all found their way into the top-25 and was rounded out by sophomore Andrew Sullivan (Ellington, CT) in 20th position with a time of 27:52.40 and sophomore Jeffrey Lusignan (East Montpelier, VT) in 22nd at 27:55.89. Rounding out the Sacred Heart top-seven was senior Ryan Murdoch (Salem, CT) in 36th (28:18.55) and freshman Kent Harlow (Burnt Hills, NY) in 39th (28:21.02).
The Pioneer women were led by freshman Olivia Civardi (Brightwaters, NY) who was their top-finisher in her first collegiate race, taking 23rd place with a time of 19:18.36. Junior Samantha Troy (Lebanon, CT) finished 30th overall with a time of 19:36.18. As a team, the Pioneers totaled 175 points in the 18 team field with Penn winning the team title with 30 total points.
"I was pleased with what I saw from the women today. We already have a strong group of returnees, and it looks like we have several freshmen who can make an impact right away this season. Of the freshmen, Olivia Civardi, in particular, looks like she will be a force to be reckoned with."
Senior Sarah Tencza (Succasunna, NJ) and sophomore Mekenzie Krause () finished back to back in 45th and 46th place, crossing the finish line in 19:59.06 and 20:01.56, respectively. Filling out the rest of SHU's top-seven runners was freshman Megan Papp (Niantic, CT) in 51st (20:16.44), sophomore Sara Pollock (Sandy Hook, CT) in 55th (20:23.32) and freshman Alyssa Selmquist (Northford, CT) in 64th (20:36.89).
In addition to the Pioneers, Saturday's race featured three other teams from the Northeast Conference. The Pioneer men and women finished ahead of the teams from Long Island University, St. Francis (NY) and Fairleigh Dickinson.
Sacred Heart will stay in state for their next two races, heading to rival Quinnipiac next Saturday, September 19th for the QU Invitational. The Pioneers will get an early peek at the course that will be the site of the 2009 NEC Championship on Saturday, October 31st.