By Sean Williams – SPORTS EDITOR
Both men’s and women’s cross country teams finished 17th at Iona College’s Meet of Champions this Saturday, as the promising Pride teams could not keep up with the elite runners at Van Cortlandt Park.
In an event that featured powerhouses like Brown and Yale on one of the most difficult courses in the country, Hofstra’s performance was simultaneously marked by disappointment and potential.
“There [are] some really good teams there, and we may not be at that level now, but that’s what we’re shooting for. I think this is a good reality check, like this is where the best team and athletes are, this is where we need to be,” said coach Vince Giambanco. “We’re doing work and we’re making progress, but we can’t really let up at all, we need to make sure we’re focused on competing at a high level.”
On the women’s side in the 6K, Becky Celorio put up a time of 25:06 to pace the Pride, good for 75th in the field of 163.
The talented junior has approached the beginning of the year carefully, and last year’s 6K performances of 22:29 at the Penn State National and 22:28 at the Northeast Regional provide evidence of a much higher ceiling, despite the troubles Van Cortlandt can pose for a runner.
Celorio was followed by junior Lisa Eberwein, who ran a 26:14, and Eva Holtermann, a senior who ran a 26:21. The pair finished 92nd and 96th in the field respectively.
The team’s 17th place in a field of 20 is a testament to the level of the course and the competition. Van Cortlandt Park, located in the Bronx, is known for its steep terrain and grinding difficulty. Coach Giambanco believes it was “a good litmus test” for improving his runners.
Albany’s Silvia Del Fava won with a 22:27, and Brown University won overall.
The Pride men finished 17th in a field of 23 in the 8K, led by Daniel Barlev, whose 27:12 time put him at 63rd.
The freshman has already proven himself as the Pride’s fastest runner, taking the place of the graduated Daniel Rono, a Kenyan native who was easily the strength of last year’s men’s team.
Alan Hetherington, also a freshman, was second for the Pride with a time of 27:47. Sophomore Jack Finlayson was not far behind, running a 27:49. Promising freshman Rodney Chirchir fell during the race and posted a 30:13, well behind last week’s time of 25:46 at the LIU Post Invitational.
The meet was individually won by Robert Allen of University of Mass. Lowell, who ran a 25:32, while the University of Arkansas took the group title.
The Pride has next week off before traveling to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for the Lehigh University Paul Short Run on Oct. 4.