Franciscan University of Steubenville hosted its first cross-country invitational since its 2016 season on Saturday, Sept. 22, with both the men’s and women’s teams taking away first place titles. The invitational was a preview of the Allegany Mountain Collegiate Conference Championships, which will also be hosted by Franciscan on Oct. 27.
Also competing in the meet were fellow conference teams Penn State-Behrend, La Roche College, and Mount Aloysius College. Going into the meet, the Barons were eager to compete for a title on their home course, which would set a strong precedent for how the Barons will perform at the conference championship.
The men’s team was paced by sophomore Liam Galligan, who finished first overall, leading the field by almost two minutes and finishing with a time of 26 minutes for the 8k race. Following Galligan and running in a close-knit pack were senior Nick Long in third place and sophomore Mark Borek in fourth, almost tying at individual times of 28:00.71 and 28:00.91, respectively.
Close behind were senior Grady Stuckman in fifth place and junior Matthew Crotteau in sixth, running times of 28:01.74 and 28:17.13. Rounding out the Franciscan runners were freshmen Mike Sobus and Riley Brooks, finishing in fifteenth and seventeenth at 30:52.50 and 34:38.49.
The Lady Barons also had many impressive performances across the board, racing very competitively and setting many personal bests. Finishing in first and second place overall were senior Grace Galligan and freshman Alison Bryant, crossing the line with the tying time of 24:33.75.
Freshman Mary Jo Shirger finished in fourth place with a time of 25:57.42, with junior Kristine Stickney following close behind in sixth place with a time of 26:36.24. Freshmen Elizabeth Atkins and senior Carolyn Poston finished in eighth and tenth places, running times of 26:51.63 and 27:32.36 respectively. Rounding out the scoring runners for the Lady Barons was sophomore Morgan Litterer in eleventh place with a time of 27:44.49.
This year’s cross-country teams have experienced much success this season on both the men’s and women’s sides. Looking ahead to conference and postseason, both teams are eager to prove themselves and have their hard work pay off.
The Barons will be back in action on Sept. 29 at the All-Ohio Championships held at the University of Akron.