The GW men’s and women’s cross country teams ran an important race Friday – the ECAC/IC4A meet in the Bronx, N.Y. The men took 16th out of 28 schools and the women took 15th out of 24. Manhattan College won the men’s side, while Lehigh University took the women’s title.
The GW teams were mediocre and neither looked sharp, according to Coach Jim Hopkins. But Hopkins emphasized it’s a long season and that the team trains for the long run.
“Part of the problem in our sport is that you have to be patient,” Hopkins said. “We’re doing the right things (in practice), but we have to wait for it to set in now. You just have to be patient.”
But neither team ran with confidence, and neither team was able to be patient.
Van Cortland Park is a fast course, according to Hopkins. It introduces its runners to wide-open space for the first 1,200 meters, then suddenly tightens, and there’s not enough space for about 200 runners. The result is a quick start and a tired finish.
Senior Jeff McCarthy dominated for the men in the race. He finished ninth overall and took with him all-meet honors.
Two freshmen, David Talbird and Matt Kascak, also performed well. To Hopkins, they are the future. And in their first major collegiate competition, Talbird finished second for GW, 32nd overall, and Kascak finished 56th overall.
“It’s a whole different level of competition for them,” Hopkins said. “Nearly twice what they’re used to.”
The women were led by senior Julie Ann Laurance, who finished 56th overall. Six seconds behind her was sophomore Jenee Peterson, at 20 minutes and 20 seconds.
In two weeks the team will travel to Philadelphia for the Atlantic 10 Championships.
“We need everyone to exceed their limitations,” Hopkins said. “That means finishing 30 to 45 seconds faster. If we can do that, we’ll do just fine.”