Cross Country attends Patriot League Championship and racks in two in top 10 finishes


The Lafayette cross country team was led Bobby Oehrlein (ninth out of 109) and Autumn Sands (10th out of 98) this past weekend at the Patriot League championship race. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

By Nicky Nathanson, Staff Writer

The Lafayette cross country teams competed in the Patriot League Championships on Oct. 31 in a race defined by tough competition and conditions. The men’s team finished fourth with an overall team score of 134, while the women finished in seventh with an overall team score of 194.

Navy won both the men’s and women’s races in a dominating fashion, with a score of 20 on the men’s side and 47 on the women’s side.

“The course was kind of muddy and the conditions were not fantastic for racing, but everyone went out there and tried their best,” senior Cassandra Wilk said. “Although we didn’t pack up far enough in the race, we still packed up like we had planned and that made me proud.”

For the men, junior Bobby Oehrlein led the way for the Leopards. Oehrlein finished in ninth out of 109 in the 8k race with a time of 25:22:7, an improvement from his tenth place finish last season. Oehrlein’s time landed him on the All-Patriot League Second Team for the second consecutive year. 

The men’s team exceeded expectations in the Patriot League this year, beating rival Lehigh and Bucknell despite projections and regular season rankings. The Leopards started out the race relatively conservatively, but worked hard to move up and pass their opponents. Embodying this, Oehrlein moved up 44 spots from mile 1 to mile 3.9, the largest jump by anyone in the race. Senior Thomas Anthony dug deep to pass 11 people from 3.9 miles to the finish, culminating in a strong kick down the finishing straightaway. In general, the whole team worked together to achieve the fourth place finish.

Following Oehrlein was senior Austin Barry, who finished 26th in 25:55.0. Just behind him was senior Brian Clayton in 28th with a time of 25:57.8, and Anthony in 32nd with a time of 26:01.9. Rounding out the top five for the Leopards, freshman Charley Eagle finished 60th overall with a time of 26:48.8.

In the women’s competition, senior Autumn Sands set the pace for Lafayette, finishing tenth overall (21:54.1) in the 6k race of 98 runners. Sands’ tenth place finish earned her All-Patriot League Second Team honors.

Junior Becky Hartman finished second for Lafayette, placing 44th overall with a time of 22:57.9. Freshman Maura Timoney finished 53rd with a time of 23:18 while Wilk placed 64th with a time of 23:31.7. Junior Dannah Javens rounded out the top five, finishing in 70th place with a time of 23:48.8.

“We can race well against a lot of teams in the Patriot League even though in past years I think teams have counted us out,” Wilk said. “For Regionals, I think we need to focus on getting further up in the race earlier on and doing a better job of not starting from the very back and working up, but starting more in the middle and working our way up from there.”

The cross country teams will compete in the NCAA District Championship at Lehigh on Nov. 12 with aspirations of going to the NCAA Championship meet on Nov. 20.