SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's and women's cross country teams kicked off the 2012 season by hosting the Sea Gull Opener on Saturday morning at Winter Place Park. The Sea Gulls had a top-five finisher in both the men's and women's race as the men placed fifth and the women took seventh.
Freshman Kyle Tockman placed fourth in the men's race, covering the 8,000 meters in 26:33.49 in his first collegiate race. He placed behind a pair of unattached runners, including race winner and Salisbury alumnus Chris Barnard (26:05.10), and the U.S. Naval Academy's William Miller (26:28.05), who placed third.
The Midshipmen won the men's team competition with 32 points, followed by John Carroll University (75 points), George Washington University (82), the University of Mary Washington (87) and Salisbury (120).
Junior Nathan Austin was Salisbury's second men's runner across the finish line, coming home in 27:42, finishing in 21st place. Salisbury rounded out its scoring with runners in pairs. Sophomore Jeremy Skarda (28:07) and senior Tyler Miluski (28:09) finished two places apart at 30th and 32nd, while senior Chris Sufczynski and junior Matthew Hallenbeck, finished in 28:35, in 45th and 46th respectively.
Sophomore Hailey Spinapont was Salisbury's top finisher on the women's side, placing fifth with a time of 22:56, matching her fastest career 6,000-meter time, set at last year's Don Cathcart Invitational, also Winter Place Park.
A pair of Rowan University runners took the top two spots as it was Danielle Czohla (22:21) who claimed the win. The Profs took the team title with 57 points, edging out George Washington (58 points). John Carroll (67) placed third ahead of Loyola University (89), Mary Washington (114), DeSales University (131) and Salisbury (171).
Freshman Becky Early placed 59th with a time of 25:18, 10 seconds ahead of sophomore Kira Polimeni, who placed 61st. Junior Claire Lawrence and freshman Samantha Lucas crossed the finish line in succession; Lawrence finished in 25:44 while Lucas was two seconds behind; the pair finished in 66th and 67th, to round out Salisbury's top-seven finishers.
The Sea Gulls will be off next week before traveling north to take part in the UMass-Dartmouth Invitational on Sept. 15.