by Andrea Garvue
At the CMU cross country invite in Schenley park Saturday, the men?s cross country team placed first overall with a 72-point lead over the second place finishers, St. Vincent.
It was a large race with a total of 14 teams and 140 runners. Juniata, Grove City, Penn State Behrend, and Geneva were the other schools to place in the top six of the competition. It was a strong day for Carnegie Mellon. Eight members of the team placed in the top 15. Nick End, Matt Meurer, and Dana Irrer placed first, second, and third respectively, followed by Geoff Misek in fifth, Mike Bridenbaugh in seventh, Chris Carroll in 12th, and first-year Mark Tressler in 13th.
End, a junior, set a school course record time of 26:05, said of the race: ?As a team, we all knew that the important part of the season started today. We focused on running well and almost all of us came away with races we are proud of.?
The course was an 8k, which is approximately five miles, making it slightly longer than the regular 4.2-mile course that the men run at Schenley Park. This adds a brutal hill to the course before the 800-meter finish at the oval. Many team members commented on the challenge of this hill, yet approximately half the team set personal records for themselves on this course.
?I was feeling good throughout the race, and when I hit the oval, I dropped the ill pace,? said junior Steve Kaplan. This year?s immense success has been a bit of a surprise for the whole team. After losing several of their top runners from last year, most felt that it would take a while to build up to their previous strength as a team.
?I didn?t think it would be possible to be better this year than last year,? said team coach Dario Donatelli. The strength of their first-years, the determination, and the camaraderie of the team as a whole has brought the team to a new level. ?Without your teammates to back you up, there?s only a lonely trail and pain,? said junior Khalil Snell.
Next week the men?s cross country team will traveling to New York, where the will be competing in the Rochester invitational against UAA opponents Case and Rochester.