Cross country opens season with strong showing at Fall Classic; men win, women take second

Cross country opens season with strong showing at Fall Classic; men win, women take second

SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's and women's cross country teams could not be held back by the lead edge of Tropical Storm Hermine, hosting the Salisbury University Fall Classic at Winter Place Park on Saturday morning. The men ran to the meet win while the women placed second in soggy, windy conditions.

Men

The men's team took off from the gun to beat the rush as the teams raced to the narrowing point, and kept a large contingent near the front the field throughout the race, finishing with a score of 25 for a dominant win over the U.S. Naval Academy, which scored 55 points for second place.

Salisbury had eight of the top 11 finishers in the field of 51 runners, led throughout the race by senior Connor Hesselbirg and freshman Branson Oduor, who ran out front with Navy runners Jake Brophy and Kevin Murray. The midshipmen took the top two spots, with Hesselbirg in third, just six seconds back in a time of 26:04.

Oduor faded a bit in the final 1,000 meters, but started his collegiate career on a high note, placing fourth in a time of 26:28. It was a great showing for the Salisbury freshmen, with classmates Dylan Smiley finishing in seventh, in a time of 26:43, just behind sophomore Billy Kirk's 26:40, and Greg Bisant taking eighth in 26:49 to wrap up Salisbury's scoring.

Junior Malcolm Milton finished ninth, in 26:55, while freshman Michael Weber came home less than a second behind Milton to round out Salisbury's top seven runners.

Women

The women also followed their game plan of running in a pack, showing in the final standings, with a contingent of runners crossing in five out of six places and seeing the team's top seven place in the first 14 runners overall.

The Sea Gulls garnered 43 points to place second, behind only DeSales University, which took three of the top four spots for 27 points.

Junior Alison Schwartz was the first Sea Gull to cross the line, in 23:18, to place third overall, while freshman Abby Potter placed sixth in 23:48 in her collegiate debut.

The largest flock of Sea Gulls began with sophomore Jamie Farley, who placed 10th in 24:14, followed closely by classmate Carly Sniffen, just a second back, and freshman Christine Sturm took 13th to complete Salisbury's scoring, finishing in 24:18.

Sophomore Jill Ciritella came home in 24:18, as well, finished in 14th, just ahead of freshman Kate Nichols, who was 15th in 24:24, finishing off the top-seven places for Salisbury.

The Sea Gulls have next week off before hitting the road for the first time in 2016, traveling to the Bill Fritz/Charlie Way Invitational in Glassboro, New Jersey on September 17. That race is slated to begin at 11 a.m.

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