Franciscan University of Steubenville’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams hit the ground running as they kicked off their season with a phenomenal showing at the Fisher Invitational on Aug. 31. The invitational, held at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, consisted of seven college teams from across the region.
The men’s cross-country team, despite a roster of only ten members, boasted an incredible first place team finish, the first in four years for the program. Sophomore Liam Galligan led the way in second place with a personal best time of 25:40.20 for the 8K race. Sophomore Mark Borek followed Galligan in fifth place, running a time of 26:55.7, and senior Nick Long finished in sixth place with a time 27:02.46.
The men’s team displayed a trend of running in a pack, with junior Matthew Crotteau and senior Grady Stuckman following closely behind in eighth and ninth places, posting times of 27:11.69 and 27:13.46 respectively.
On the women’s side, the Lady Barons placed fourth overall, with three top-15 individual finishers. Senior Grace Galligan led the group, finishing in third with a time of 24:01.10. Freshman Alison Bryant was close behind in sixth place, finishing with a time of 24:34.83. About a minute behind her was freshman Mary Jo Shirger, who finished in 12th place in 25:41.36.
Another pack of Baron runners followed shortly thereafter, consisting of freshman Elizabeth Atkins (26th, 26:45.61), senior Carolyn Poston (30th, 26:57.68) and freshman Ashlin LaFond (32nd, 27:08.53). Junior Natalia Badia edged out the last of the scoring runners in 33rd place with a time of 27:15.61.
Overall, the running Barons exhibited a great start to a promising season. “I’m really impressed with how we ended up stacking up against other teams,” said Long, one of the team captains. “This is just the step in the right direction that we need to get top ten at Regionals and maybe even make it to Nationals.”
Cross-country will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Bethany Invitational, kicking off at 10:30 a.m.