Cross country looks forward to rest of season after Bison Opener

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The cross country team looks forward to a promising season with a talented and enthusiastic senior class. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The cross country team had their season opener at the Bison Opener in Lewisburg, PA last Friday, with the women and men’s teams finishing second and third out of four teams, respectively.

Senior Becky Hartman led the way on the women’s side, finishing fifth overall in the 58-runner race with a final time of 14:25.8. Senior Rachel Hurley finished shortly after in ninth place overall with a final time of 14:48.5. Rounding out the top five for the Leopards were freshman Sarah Pezzino (12th, 14.59.0), Emma Lorey (14th, 15.03.6) and Elizabeth Borah (15.09.9)

Hurley is one of the many runners within the class of 2023 who has not had the opportunity to run cross country competitively since freshman year because of the pandemic. 

“It was exciting to get back into the feeling of running cross country again,” she said. 

“It’s crazy to think that it was my ‘last first’ cross country meet at Lafayette, but I’m excited for the season to have started,” Hartman said. “I feel like this will be a good year because we have a strong team so I’m excited for that to show in meets.” 

Overall, the women earned second place overall in the 3.9K race, beating out American and Loyola.

Sophomore Alfred Sanford placed eighth overall for the Lafayette men with a final time of 19:15.0. Just over a second behind Sanford was classmate Emil Arangala, who also finished in the top 10 at ninth in 19:16.3. Junior Alex Gent (11th; 19.26.0), freshman Titan Casey (17th; 19.32.9) and junior Sean Hamilton (20th, 19.44.2) finished in the top five for the Maroon and White.

Casey, along with all his fellow freshmen, competed in his first collegiate race at the Bison Opener.

“It feels great to start the season, we have been working all summer and we finally get time to show off all the work we put in. A lot of teams and schools aren’t expecting much from us, so I’m excited to surprise them,” Casey said. He said that making different poses and hand signals to his teammates while running and seeing their reactions was a great memory from that race.

Overall, the men earned third place overall in the 6K race, beating out American. The team on both sides has high hopes for the rest of the season to come.

“It is a large group of seven seniors, which is larger than many previous years, who are all still out there running since freshman year,” Hurley said. “This is one of the best teams we have had in a while and [we] stand a good chance to beat Lehigh next week for the first time in a few years.”

“It feels amazing to have started the season,” Arangala added. “It felt like a major build-up due to the loss of a lot of seniors, so we are hoping to build off of last year”  

The Leopards will be back in competition at Goodman Campus, Bethlehem PA on Friday, Sept. 16 at 5:15 p.m. in a dual meet with rivals Lehigh.