SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University cross country teams hosted their second of three home meets this season on Saturday morning at Winter Place Park, hosting 14 teams for the Don Cathcart Invitational.
The Sea Gull men took third place in the annual event, in its seventh year named for the former Salisbury cross country coach, led by sophomore Thomas Burke, while the women placed fourth, paced by junior Kira Polimeni.
Saturday's event featured four Capital Athletic Conference teams as Winter Place Park will play host to the 2013 CAC Cross Country Championships on Nov. 2.
Burke's 10th-place finish helped Salisbury to a total of 81 points, just six behind York (Pa.) College. East Stroudsburg University claimed the top spot with 33 points.
The Salisbury men ran in packs throughout the race with 12 runners in the top 49 positions, bunched in groups. Burke began the race near the top 10, running with a group of four other Sea Gulls a mile into the event. He dropped back to 14th at the two-mile mark, but picked off four spots to earn the top-10 finish, his second in a row, with a time of 26:04.9.
The Sea Gulls' next four scorers finished in a span of just five places. Senior Joel Anderson moved up five places in the closing mile to take a 20th-place finish in 26:30.7, followed by classmate Nathan Austin, two seconds later.
Polimeni started near the front of the field in the women's race and gradually moved up to earn Salisbury's top finish in the women's race, taking ninth. She helped the Gulls to 156 points. East Stroudsburg claimed the top spot with 38 points, followed by Nyack College (45 points) in second and York (71), rounding out the top three.
Polimeni was running just outside the top 10 after the first mile and stood 12th after the second mile, but gained three spots over the closing mile-plus to finish ninth, with a time of 23:09.0, holding off the late kick from East Stroudsburg's Kim Lowry.
Junior Olivia Cloud was Salisbury's second runner to come home. She began the race with a pack of Sea Gulls running between 20th and 30th positions after the first mile. Cloud found her groove in the main pack behind the leaders. She ran in 26th through the second and third miles and finished 25th with a time of 24:11.3.
Consistent placement within the field was a common theme for the women as most of Salisbury's runner held their positions. Senior Michele Stromberg, sophomore Samantha Lucas and sophomore Becky Early all ran in the early pack with Cloud. The group ran near the 40th position through two miles and held those spots.
Stromberg was Salisbury's third finisher, taking 44th place with a time of 24:54.6. Lucas finished 48th in 25:05.4 while Early crossed the line in 25:09.1 to take 49th place, rounding out the SU scoring.
The Sea Gull teams will return to action next Saturday, Oct. 5, competing in the Paul Short Run at Lehigh University.