NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The Salisbury University men's and women's cross country teams hit the road for the first time in the 2011 season and came away with a few historic performances at the UMass-Dartmouth Invitational.
Sophomore Ryan Jackson was able to do something 13th-year Head Coach Jim Jones had not seen a Salisbury men's runner do in his tenure – break the 25-minute barrier – as he placed third, while the women's team had its best finish at the UMass-Dartmouth event, taking fifth of 37 teams.
Jackson ran the 8,000-meter course in a time of 24:52.67, taking third place in a field of 255 runners, helping Salisbury to a fourth-place team finish out of 34 full teams. Massachusetts Institute of Technology won the men's event with 31 points, followed by Brandeis University (79 points), Division II Bentley University (134) and Salisbury (143).
Jackson was one of four Sea Gulls to place in the top 35 in the large field. Senior John Fitzgerald took 20th place with a time of 25:34.27 and senior David Toller and freshman Alex Arias teamed up to place 34th and 35th, respectively, with times of 25:59.11 and 26:00.08.
Sophomore Joel Anderson posted a time of 26:40.01 to take 62nd place for Salisbury while sophomore Adam Rudy (103rd place) finished with a time of 27:30.13 and junior Tyler Miluski rounded out Salisbury's scoring with a time of 27:32.00 to take 106th place.
The Salisbury women stepped to the start line with 36 other teams and placed six scorers in the top 100 to take fifth place led by freshman Hailey Spinapont, who placed 18th with a time of 19:16.20. MIT claimed the women's race as well, followed in second place by the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (109 points) while Wellesley College (114), Brandeis (148) and Salisbury (160) rounded out the top five.
Senior Anna Steinman was just five seconds behind Spinapont, taking 24th place with a time of 19:21.50. Classmate Becca Stinner's time of 19:36.24 was good for 34th while freshman Kira Polimeni was two spots behind Stinner with a time of 19:40.03.
The Sea Gulls will have next week off before returning home for their second meet of the season at Winterplace Park. Salisbury will host the Don Cathcart Invitational on Oct. 1, beginning at 9:45 a.m.