BIG EAST Cross Country Notebook: Oct. 7

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - BIG EAST cross country teams showed why they are some of the best in the country last weekend, with numerous strong performances at some of the most competitive meets of the cross country year. Five women's cross country teams won their respective meets, while five men's teams finished in the top five. The BIG EAST Cross Country Championship will be held Oct. 30 at Jamesville County Beach Park in Jamesville, N.Y., hosted by Syracuse.
 
Where they will be this weekend...
Men:
New England Championships (Oct. 9, Boston, Mass.): Connecticut, Providence
CMU Invitational (Oct. 9, Pittsburgh, Pa.): Pittsburgh
Metropolitan Championships (Oct. 8, Bronx, N.Y.): Rutgers
Florida State Invitational (Oct. 8, Tallahassee, Fla.): USF
Idle: Cincinnati, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia
 
Women:
New England Championships (Oct. 9, Boston, Mass.): Connecticut, Providence
CMU Invitational (Oct. 9, Pittsburgh, Pa.): Pittsburgh
Metropolitan Championships (Oct. 8, Bronx, N.Y.): Rutgers, St. John's
Florida State Invitational (Oct. 8, Tallahassee, Fla.): USF
Idle: Cincinnati, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia
 
Cincinnati: Both the Bearcats men's and women's teams claimed fifth at the All-Ohio Championships on Oct. 1 in Cedarville, Ohio. Junior Eric Finan covered the 8k course in 24:20.6 to lead the Cincinnati men, while sophomore Oliver Book placed 11th. On the women's side, senior Michele McKenney cracked the top 10, placing ninth with a time of 17:53.0.
 
Cincinnati is off this week but will be back in action on Oct. 16 at the Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind.
 
Connecticut: Connecticut did not compete last week, but both the men's and women's teams will race this week at the New England Championships on Oct. 9 in Boston, Mass. The men's team has finished in the top 10 at the New England Championships six times. Last season, the men finished sixth at the meet.
 
The women finished 14th at the New England Championships last season. Sophomore Megan Jacoby is the top returning performer from last year's meet. She placed 57th individually.
 
DePaul: Both the DePaul men and women competed at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational in Chicago, Ill., on Oct. 2. The men placed ninth at the meet while the women took 13th. Junior Matthew Graham led the charge for the men, earning BIG EAST male cross country Athlete of the Week honors for his tremendous effort. Graham placed first individually for the third time this season, navigating the 8k course in 24:32, outpacing his closest competition by 21 seconds. Junior Kelly Pickering was the top finisher for the women, taking 30th with a time of 18:38 in the 5k race.
 
Both teams are off this weekend, but are in action on Oct. 15 at the Bradley Classic.
 
Georgetown: The Georgetown women moved up to No. 5 in the country after winning the Paul Short Run on Oct. 1. The Hoyas cruised to the first-place finish, scoring a total of 34 points with seven runners finishing in the top 20. Junior Emily Infeld earned BIG EAST female cross country Athlete of the Week honors, grabbing the individual title at the meet with a time of 20:04 in the 6k race.
 
The men also had a great performance at the Paul Short Run, taking second and moving up to No. 22 in the country. The Hoyas had 149 total points, with senior Ayalew Taye leading the way in fourth place. Taye finished the 8k course with a time of 23:54. The squad finished behind then-No. 22 Virginia.
 
Both teams next compete on Oct. 16 at the Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind.
 
Louisville: The University of Louisville men's cross country team captured its second-straight Greater Louisville Classic team title on Oct. 2. Behind top-10 finishes from senior Michael Eaton (seventh) and junior Matt Hughes (10th), the Cardinals finished the race with 97 team points - more than 50 points ahead of their closest competition- and good enough for first out of 38 teams. Eaton's time of 23:35.66 becomes the 10th fastest time on the men's side at the course. True freshman Tyler Byrne also had an impressive showing, taking 21st with a time of 24:15.69, the second-fastest time of any true Cardinal freshman at E.P. Sawyer State Park.
 
On the women's side, senior Kim Grieshaber led the team for the third-straight race. She navigated the 5K course in 17:17.54, taking fourth place. Senior Emily Borsare and grad student Monica Hernandez rounded out the Cardinals' top-three finishers, respectively. Borsare took 24th, while Hernandez placed 57th. Collectively, the Cardinal women took 13th out of a 35-team field.
 
The Cardinal men and women are idle this weekend, with their next race coming in Terre Haute, Ind., at Pre-Nationals on Oct. 16. It was announced this week that the Cardinal men improved a spot in the regional rankings, improving to sixth in the USTFCCCA Southeast Region.
 
Marquette: The Marquette women split the squad and ran in two separate races last week. Half of the squad grabbed first at the Carthage Invitational in Kenosha, Wis., on Oct. 1. The other half took 17th at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis., on Oct. 2. Freshman Holly Robertson led the squad at the Carthage Invitational with a first-place finish. Senior Olivia Johnson was the top finisher at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, crossing the line with a time of 21:39 in 70th place.
 
The men were led at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational by Brice Cleland's 64th-place finish, finishing the 8k course in 21:39.
 
The Golden Eagles return to action at the Pre-Nationals on Oct. 16 in Terre Haute, Ind.
 
Notre Dame: The Notre Dame men's and women's teams hosted the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 1 as one of the premier meets of the cross country season. It was the 55th running of the event and included 48 schools competing in at least one of the five total races. Fourteen teams ranked in the USTFCCCA top 30 competed at the meet.
 
The men defeated several top 30 ranked teams to finish seventh. It bumped the Irish into the latest USTFCCCA poll, entering at No. 28. Senior Dan Jackson was the top finisher for the men, taking 15th with a time of 24:13.
 
The women finished 18th of the 24 teams competing. Freshman Meg Ryan led the Irish for the second straight week, crossing the finish line in 17:37.
 
Both teams are off this week but will compete on Oct. 16 at the Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind.
 
Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh's men's and women's teams both competed at the Paul Short Run on Oct. 1. The men finished 41st at the meet. Senior Josh Christopher led the way with a time of 25:23 in the 8k race. The women finished 23rd overall. Freshman Susannah Feinstein set the pace for the Panthers, finishing the 6k race with a time of 23:26.
 
Both teams will compete at the CMU Invitational on Oct. 9. The women will run a 5k followed by the men running an 8k.
 
Providence: The Providence men placed 13th of 21 teams at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Oct. 2. The Friars completed the 8k run with a combined 335 points in the field of 212 runners. Indiana took the team title with 43 points. Junior Lee Carey was PC's top performer, placing 15th individually with a time of 23:56.8, 27 seconds behind first. Junior Dominic Channon placed 33rd.
 
The Friars also got top 100 runs from sophomore Eric Malanti (90th) and junior Matt Terry (92nd). Freshman Francis Hernandez rounded out the Providence scoring at 105th.
 
The Providence women were idle this week. Both teams will run in the New England Championships on Oct. 9 in Boston, Mass.
 
Rutgers: The Rutgers women finished first in the Brown Division at the Paul Short Run on Oct. 1. Junior Kelly Flannigan clocked a time of 22:01 to finish sixth and lead the Scarlet Knight runners. The squad finished with 118 points, with three runners finishing in the top 20.  
 
The Rutgers men were idle last week. Both teams will compete at the Metropolitan Championships in Bronx, N.Y., on Oct. 8.
 
St. John's:St. John's finished 16th out of 41 teams in the Brown Division at the 6K Paul Short Invite on Oct. 1. Three runners set personal bests, while two others came just seconds away from running their top 6K race of their careers. As a team, the Red Storm compiled its fastest average 6K time since the 2008 BIG EAST Championship. 
 
St. John's will next compete at the Metropolitan Championships on Oct. 8 at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y.
 
Seton Hall:Both the men's and women's Seton Hall cross country teams finished third at the Asics/Embry Riddle Classic on Sept. 25. Sophomore Hughnique Rolle continue to lead the women, placing seventh individually with a time of 20:33. Senior Alexandra Hehn took eighth, crossing the line in 20:39.
 
Sophomore Jared Hanko completed the 8k race in 28:31 to finish 14th and lead the men's side. Classmate Dwight Parker was not too far behind, placing 18th in 29:18.  
 
The Pirates will have this weekend off in preparation for the Metropolitan Championships on Oct. 8 in the Bronx, N.Y.
 
USF: The Bulls' men's and women's teams competed at the Paul Short Run on Oct. 1. The women placed 34th overall while the men grabbed 27th in the Brown Division.
 
Junior Yasmin Smith took the top spot for the women, finishing 98th with a time of 22:10. The meet took place in difficult conditions, with rain and mud causing it to be very difficult for the runners. Junior Nicole Rozario, the team's top finisher in the first two meets, fell at the three-mile mark and was unable to finish the race.
 
Pedro Carela helped lead the men, finishing 27th with a time of 26:07. He was followed closely by junior Phillip Wise, who placed 41st with a time of 26:19.
 
Both teams will head to the Florida State Invitational in Tallahassee, Fla., on Oct. 8.
 
Syracuse: The Syracuse women earned a first-place finish of 21 teams at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Oct. 2. Senior Katie Hursey clocked the ebst time for the women, finishing third overall with a time of 20:17. The Orange are now ranked first in the Northeast region and 11th nationally.
 
The men's side took fourth of 20 teams at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Junior Steve Weeks was Syracuse's top runner with a 14th-place finish, clocking a time of 23:56.4. The men also are No. 1 in the Northeast region and ranked 11th nationally.
 
Members of the Syracuse cross country team will either compete in the Panorama Farms Invitational in Charlottesville, Va., on Oct. 15 or the Pre-National in Terre Haute, Ind. on Oct. 16.
 
Villanova: The Villanova women had a dominant performance at the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 1, where it finished first out of 24 teams with 64 points to easily outdistance runner-up Oregon (118) and the rest of the field. In a meet that featured four of the top five teams in last week's USTFCCCA national poll and 12 nationally-ranked squads overall, the impressive showing by the Wildcats secured the team's unanimous hold on the No. 1 spot in the national rankings. 
 
Senior Sheila Reid came in second overall out of 194 runners at the Notre Dame meet with a time of 16:26 on the 5K course. She was one of three team members to place in the top seven, with senior Amanda Marino (fifth place) and junior Bogdana Mimic (seventh place) coming in close behind. In all, the top five runners for the Wildcats all finished in the top 31 of the race. Senior Ali Smith finished 19th and freshman Emily Lipari was 31st, as she beat every other team's fifth runner as well as the fourth runner from every squad except for Oregon. 
 
In its first big meet of the season, the Villanova men competed at the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 1. The meet featured two of the top five teams in the country and seven nationally-ranked squads according to last week's USTFCCCA national poll. Due to nagging injuries to some of their runners, the Wildcats were without three student-athletes who likely would have been among the team's top seven at Notre Dame. 
 
Junior Matt Kane had his second straight impressive outing to begin the season and was the team's top finisher last week. He posted a time of 24:32 on the 8K course at Notre Dame and finished 32nd individually in a field of 160 runners. Kane and senior Keith Capecci (50th place, 24:52) were the only Wildcat runners in the top 50 individual spots. 
 
Both the men and women will be idle this week but will be in action at the Penn State National on Oct. 16.
 
West Virginia: West Virginia competed in the gold race at the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 1. The squad came away with a second-place finish behind Oakland University. Sophomore Katie Gillespie took first-place individually in just her second meet as a Mountaineer. She has finished first in both of her races at West Virginia.
 
Junior Ahna Lewis was slated to make her 2010 debut at the Notre Dame Invitational, but was forced to sit out due to heel problems. Head coach Sean Cleary announced last week that he will be redshirting three seniors this season, and is looking for leaders to emerge from the pack to help the Mountaineers qualify for regionals and the NCAA Championship. West Virginia is now ranked sixth in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic region.
 
The Mountaineers will have the week off from competition to get ready for the Penn State National on Oct. 16.