PENSACOLA, Fla. – This was the third meet for the Loyola University New Orleans men’s and women’s cross country team, and the third time they have competed in the Gulf Coast Stampede. For the Wolfpack, the third time was the charm.
Both teams accomplished their best finishes in Pensacola since its inaugural debut. This weekend also marked the first time the men and women have both beaten Spring Hill since Andy Canegitta’s debut as head coach.
The ‘Pack men finished in sixth place out of 13 teams, scoring 173 points, just three points behind fifth place Xavier-Louisiana. Their team average time of 28:22 was well below their target time of 29:00.
Four freshmen runners spearheaded the sixth place finish for the men in their first collegiate 8K race. Paul Freese came in 31st (27:35), Dylan DiMartino in 39th (28:03), Henry Gerbracht in 40th (28:04), and Mike Corso in 42nd (28:11). Junior Chris Graugnard ran an 8K career best today with a time of 31:15.
“The four freshmen ran a controlled race today and did great,” said Coach Canegitta. “It was a good start for the first 8K. We were below our target time, and once I set these guys loose, I know they will do even better.”
The ‘Pack women finished in eighth place out of 16 teams, scoring 224 points, with a team average time of 20:55.36.
“We did fairly well due to the fact that three of the top seven girls sat out. We had some of the girls in the back end step up,” explains Coach Canegitta. “We’re running better with each race.”
Sophomore Vanessa Righeimer led the charge for the women coming in 27th place with a season best 5K time of 19:51. Junior Jenna Knoblach, who ran her best 5K time of her collegiate career, came in 35th with a time of 20:11. Rounding out the top five for the women were freshman Denise Powell in 47th (20:46), Islam Galgal in 64th (21:36), and Elizabeth Gienger in 75th (22:11).
“The freshmen are getting comfortable at the college level,” continues Canegitta. “Now, we’ll taper off from the long runs at practice and focus on getting healthy for the next race.”
The Loyola cross country team will compete again October 15, when they return to Clinton Miss. for the Choctaw Open.
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