BIG EAST Cross Country Notebook: Week 1

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The 2010 cross country season is underway and 15 of the 16 BIG EAST schools have competed over the first two weeks of the year. Ten teams were in action this past weekend at various invitationals, with 14 teams competing this upcoming weekend. The BIG EAST Cross Country Championship will be held Oct. 30 at Jamesville County Beach Park in Jamesville, N.Y.
 
Cincinnati: The Cincinnati men's and women's cross country teams opened up the 2010 season at the Queen City Invitational at the Voice of America Park in West Chester, Ohio. The Bearcat women took first, scoring a total of 34 points. Cincinnati owned the top three spots, with senior Michele McKenney leading the way in first. McKenney crossed the finish line with a time of 18:04 while teammate senior Lilian Jelimo finished second with a time of 18:16.00. Freshman Alison Zukowski took third with a time of 18:31.00. Cincinnati beat out teams from Xavier, Bellarmine, Northern Kentucky and Wright State among others.
 
The men's team finished second in the same meet with a total of 52 points. Junior Eric Finan won the individual title with a time of 14:46, with teammate sophomore Oliver Book finishing fourth with a time of 15:19. The Bearcats finished 17 points behind Xavier for first.
 
Both teams are next in action at the Iona Meet of Champions on Sept. 18.
 
Connecticut: The Connecticut women's team is coming off a successful weekend after finishing second at the BIG EAST Preview in Jamesville, N.Y., and placing third at the CCSU Blue Devil Invite in New Britain, Conn. Sophomore Shauna McNiff led the Huskies at the BIG EAST Preview, placing fourth overall. Freshman Alison Lasnicki has also looked strong in her first two collegiate meets, winning the Army Invitational on Sept. 3 and placing eighth at the BIG EAST Preview on Sept. 11. Connecticut moved up four spots in the USTFCCCA region rankings, and sits at No. 10 in the Northeast.
 
The Connecticut women will be off this weekend before traveling to Minneapolis, Minn., for the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 25. The Huskies also will compete at the CCSU Invitational in New Britain, Conn., on Sept. 25.
 
The Connecticut men's team finished second at the Fairfield Invitational on Sept. 11. The second-place finish is tied for the highest finish to open a season since 2005. Sophomore Nick Aguila was the highest finisher for the Huskies, placing second with a time of 26:18. It marks the second consecutive season that a Connecticut runner has finished second at the Fairfield Invite.
 
The Connecticut men will be in action this weekend at the UMass Invitational on Sept. 18.
 
DePaul: The DePaul men's team had a great showing at the BIG EAST Preview in Jamesville, N.Y., on Sept. 11, finishing second behind host Syracuse. The Blue Demons were led by junior Matthew Graham who won his seventh consecutive regular-season race with an impressive time of 17:59.60, 23 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Graham was named BIG EAST cross country Athlete of the Week.
 
The women's team finished fourth overall at the BIG EAST Preview. Junior Toni Salvatore was the top finisher, taking third with a time of 19:11.9 in the 5K race.
 
Both teams compete at the National Catholic Championship at Notre Dame Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind. on Sept. 17. Last season, the DePaul women's team took third-place out of 21 teams. The men's side took fourth out of 32 teams a year ago, with Graham finishing first overall individually.
 
Georgetown: The Georgetown men's and women's teams both competed at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational, hosted by Penn State on Sept. 11. The women's team came in first-place, finishing with 48 points total. The Hoyas had four runners place in the top 10, helping the squad beat out then-No. 7 Princeton and then-No. 24 Penn State. Sophomore Emily Jones came in first individually with a time of 20:59.2 and was named BIG EAST women's cross country Athlete of the Week.
 
The men's team finished in second-place with 52 points, just four points behind first-place Princeton. Senior Ayalew Taye was the top finisher for the Hoyas, taking fourth with a time of 25:21.2.
The Hoyas will not compete again until Oct. 1 when they take part in the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa.
 
Louisville:The Cardinals did not compete last week. Louisville will take part in the Navy Invitational in Annapolis, Md. on Sept. 18.
 
Marquette: Senior Olivia Johnson won the Badger Classic on Sept. 3 with a time of 14:20 to help Marquette open the season with a second-place finish overall behind Northwestern. The men's side also finished in second at the Badger Classic on Sept. 3 behind Wisconsin. Senior Brice Cleland led Golden Eagle men with a sixth-place finish (25:26). Marquette returns to action on Sept. 17 at the National Catholic Invitational in Notre Dame, Ind.
 
Notre Dame: The Notre Dame men's and women's cross country teams finished first at the Valparaiso Crusader Open on Sept. 3. Neither team competed this past weekend. The Fighting Irish are in action on Sept. 17 when they host the National Catholic Invitational.
 
Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh's men's and women's cross country teams opened their seasons at the Duquesne Duals at Schenley Park. The men's team finished fourth while the women's team place eighth. Senior Teddy Miller was the high-finisher for the men, placing sixth overall with a time of 25:44. On the women's side, Sophomore Emily Barno finished 37th overall with a time of 19:42, nearly two minutes better than her time at the Duquesne Duals last season. Neither team competed this past weekend.
 
Both the men's and women's teams will compete in the Pitt, Duquesne, Bucknell tri-meet on Sept. 18 at Schenley Park in Pittsburgh, Pa.
 
Providence: The Friar women opened the season in impressive fashion and claimed the top six spots in the 22nd annual Blue Devil Invitational on Sept. 11 in New Britain, Conn. Providence finished first out of 10 teams, 27 points ahead of second-place finisher Quinnipiac. Junior Mary Kate Champagne was the overall winner, besting the field of 133 runners by completing the 5K course in 17:31. The Friars next compete on Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn.
 
The men's side also took first at the Blue Devil Invitational on Sept. 11. The Friars grabbed the top three spots, with junior Matt Terry leading the way in the 8K race. Terry finished first out of 102 runners with a time of 25:31. Sophomore Eric Malnati crossed the line in second-place, while freshman Francis Hernandez finished his collegiate debut in third-place. The men will next compete on Oct. 2 at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis.
 
Rutgers:The Rutgers women opened the season at the 2010 Fordham Fiasco at Van Courtlandt Park. The Scarlet Knights collected 55 points en route to a second-place showing among an 18-team field. Freshman Brianna Deming led the Scarlet Knights, finishing the 5K course sixth overall with a time of 18:52.93. She was followed by eighth-place finisher junior Victoria Pontecorvo. Rutgers had a pair of top-10 finishes and a total of six in the top 20.
 
The men's side also opened the season at the Fordham Fiasco at Van Courtlandt Park. Rutgers collected 105 points to finish fourth in a 14-team field. Senior Kevin Cronin led the pack, finishing the 8K race ninth overall in 26:39.75.
Both teams return to action for the Monmouth Invitational in Holmdel, N.J.
 
St. John's:The Red Storm did not compete this past weekend. St. John's is back in action on Sept. 18 at the C.W. Post Invite in Brookville, N.Y.
 
Seton Hall: The Seton Hall men's and women's teams each competed in the BIG EAST Preview in Jamesville, N.Y. on Sept. 11. The men finished in fifth-place for the second straight week, while the women finished seventh. The men were paced by sophomore Jared Hanko, taking 28th with a time of 20:06. On the women's side, it was sophomore Hughnique Rolle who was the top-finisher, placing 46th with a time of 22:25.
Both teams will take part in the Delaware Invitational on Sept. 18.
 
USF: The USF men's and women's teams both opened their seasons at the BIG EAST Preview in Jamesville, N.Y. on Sept. 11.  The men placed third with 83 points in the 6K race. Junior Philip Wise led the men's team with a time of 19:27.5 to finish in 11th- place.
 
The women's side came in fifth in the 5K race with 118 points. Junior Nicole Rozario was the Bulls top finisher, claiming ninth-place in 19:26.9.
 
Both teams will compete in the Florida Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. on Sept. 18.
 
Syracuse: Junior Steve Weeks paced the Syracuse men's team with a second-place finish at the BIG EAST Preview on Sept. 11, helping the Orange capture the team title in Jamesville, N.Y. Four Syracuse men's runners finished in the top 10 out of the 77 competitors.
 
The Syracuse women finished first at the BIG EAST Preview on Sept. 11. Sophomore Sarah Pagano finished second in the women's 5K race with a time of 18:48.4 to pace the Orange runners. Four Syracuse women's runners finished in the top 10 out of the 76 competitors.
The BIG EAST Preview was the first home meet for both the Orange men and women since 2004 in preparation for hosting BIG EAST Championship. Both teams will compete in the Colgate Invitational on Sept. 18.
 
Villanova: The Villanova men's and women's cross country teams will start their seasons on Sept. 23 at the Main Line Invitational. The women's team is ranked No. 1 in the country while the men sit at No. 14.
 
West Virginia: The No. 17 ranked Mountaineers women's cross country team took third-place at the BIG EAST Preview in Jamesville, N.Y. on Sept. 11. West Virginia finished with 85 points, as Syracuse grabbed first with 31 points. Sophomore transfer Katilyn Gillespie came in first-place overall in the field of 76 runners to lead the team, beating the second-place finished to the finish line by 20 seconds. Several Mountaineers made their first appearances of the season, including senior Maria Dalzot, and juniors Sarah-Anne Brault and Stephanie Caruso. Dalzot came in 16th overall, the second-best finish on the team.
 
The team will have a break before next competing at the Paul Short Invitational in Notre Dame, Ind. on Oct. 1.