Full Results Here (Includes Overall Standings)
On Saturday Monmouth University hosted a cross country season kick off event which saw five NCAA Division I teams including the host, two from New York, one from Pennsylvania, and New Jersey's very own Seton Hall. Brookdale Community College, Georgian Court University, and the US Merchant Marin Academy-Kings were also in attendance and racing for the overall standings.
On the womens side Stephanie Benko of Lafayette College (PA) took first overall individually with a winning 4000 meter time of 14:48.7. After her stellar performance Lafayette College just wasn't able to give the support through the rest of the top 5 to hold the early lead. Monmouth University would bring in the 2-3 runners thanks to freshmen Danielle Leavitt, who graduated from Lacey last spring, with a 14:59.8 and sophomore Jenna Cupp who clocked 15:02.1.
Now with Monmouth in the lead Seton Hall answered going 4-5, freshmen Christiana Rutkowski (Middletown South'14) ran 15:10 and Mary Migton (Roxbury '11) right behind her at 15:12. Five seconds later the Monmouth Hawks sealed the deal with a pack run scoring places 6 through 10 in the Division 1 scores. This push was led by Sydney Engelberger, 15:21.2, Lennon Cooper (Holmdel'13), 15:25.4, Molly McKeon, 15:25.9, and Nina Poccia 15:27.1!
In the overall scores Georgian Court's freshman Jessica Handsaker was among that Monmouth pack placing 8th at 15:21.8. The GCU women finished 5th overall and were first out of the Non-Division 1 teams.
For the mens race the team winner was decided a bit quicker as Monmouth University just missed a perfect score going 1-2-3-5-6 and their support runners did work as well taking the 7th and 9th positions. Leading that unstoppable charge was senior Alex Leight (Old Bridge'11) with a 19:09.7 he was followed by; 2nd Domenick D'Agostino (Wallington'12) - 19:11.4, 3rd Kevin French - 19:16.4, 5th Kevin Summonte (Freehold Twp'13) - 19:23.2, and Ben Dillon (Cherry Hill East'14) - 19:29.7!
Placing fourth individually and leading Lafayette College (PA) to a second place finish was Thomas Day with a time of 19:20.2.
Seton Hall University was led by Kevin Walsh who placed 12th with a time of 19:53.20. The Hall fell to third place despite a really nice pack effort.
In the end Monmouth University sweeps the mens and womens to open their season undefeated. For all of the teams involved it must have been nice to run against other teams in a racing environment after a summer of team training and lonely long runs.
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