Joseph Carosi Sports Editor
The men and women’s cross country teams participated in the Western New England Invitational this past weekend with an impressive showing. Overall, this was the best win for the women’s team, and arguably the best for the men’s team as well.
The women’s team finished with a season best second place finish out of the 22 competing teams at the invite. The team has been one of the most successful teams out of all the athletic teams at RWU this semester. They started the season off strong on their home turf at the RWU Invitational with a fifth place finish in that race, and from then on they have been equally impressive. They haven’t had a race where they finish above 15th place overall, and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Leading the way for the women’s team was junior Jackie Applin, who finished with a final time of 20:15, earning her 12th place out of all the runners participating in the race. Trailing right behind her was freshman Sarah Mawdsley. Mawdsley has been the most consistent runner for the team so far this season, often crossing the finish line first for the team. She would finish this race with a time of 20:16, earning 13th place overall.
The next runner to finish for the Hawks was another freshman, Hannah Kaplan. This is the second week in a row that Kaplan finished third for the Hawks. For this race she finished with a time of 20:57, and a 31st place finish overall. Junior Brianna Hoffner and sophomore Piper Wilbur would follow, rounding out the five scoring places for the team. Hoffner finished with a time of 20:13, and a respectable 37th finish, while Wilbur finished with a time of 20:22 and a 38th place finish. Closing out the day for the Hawks was senior Erica Koljonen and junior Kelsey Novy. Koljonen finished with a time of 22:13 and an 82nd placing overall, while Novy finished with a time of 22:36 and a 96th placing overall.
The men’s team has been just as good as the women’s team this season. The team started the season off strong with a fifth place finish at the RWU Invitational and an impressive fourth place finish at the UMass-Dartmouth Invitational. They fell off a little bit last week at the Westfield State Invitational, but made up for it with a nice eighth place finish out of the 21 competing teams at the Western New England Invitational this past weekend.
Leading the pack was none other than junior Matt Simonelli. This season Simonelli has been one of the most consistent runners for the team. He would finish this race with a time of 27:52, earning him an 18th place finish overall. The next three runners to cross the line for the Hawks finished closely to one another. Junior Luke Emby, who was out last week due to illness, came back strong with a final time of 28:48, earning him a 39th place finish. Senior Mikhail Salnikov, and sophomore Nick Sasso each finished with a time of 28:56, with Salnikov getting the better of the doubt with a 44th place finish, while Sasso settled for a 45th place finish.
Closing out the top five for the Hawks was junior Andrei Safontchik who finished with a new personal best of 29:26, earning him a well-deserved 60th place finish. Finishing off the day for the Hawks was senior Troy Lang, who finished with an overall time of 29:30, earning him a 63rd place finish, and junior Kevin McManus, who finished just under the 30-minute mark with a time of 29:56, earning him a 78th place overall.
The Hawks will take a breather next week as they will be participating in the RWU Alumni race on campus. However, they will have to mentally prepare themselves for October 29 where they will return to Western New England University to compete in the CCC Championship race.