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Cross Country show signs of improvement at UMass

The men and women’s cross country teams both placed fifth at the Minuteman Invitational Saturday afternoon. The University of Maine was one of seven New England schools in the event.

The University of Connecticut came in first with a score of 25, and had five runners place in the top 10. Third-year Patrick Begley of UConn crossed the line first, posting a time of 18:57 in the 6-kilometer race. Begley finished the race 13 seconds faster than anyone else.  Boston University had three runners in the top 10 and came in as the runner-up.

Third-year Aaron Willingham was the Black Bears’ top runner, completing the race with a time of 19:40. Willingham finished 14th out of 78 participants.

Finishing right behind him was second-year Jacob Terry, with an end time of 19:43. Third-year Daniel Lesko’s 19:51 time earned him 25th and third-year Joshua Horne’s 19:55 time was good for 28th place, rounding out the team’s top-50 finishers. Overall, the team ended with 111 points.

On the women’s side, UConn earned the win as well. They ended with 25 points, and had five runners make the top 10. UMass senior Heather Mclean came in first, with a time of 17:22 in the five kilometer race. UMass came in second as a team, with a score of 43.

Third-year Haley Lawrence led the way for UMaine, with her 18:23 time earning her 14th place out of the 82 runners.

“This is one of my favorite courses we go to, so I felt pretty good going into the race,” Lawrence said.

The hot temperatures hardly affected Lawrence, who had one of the best races of her career.

“Overall I was very happy with my time. It was a personal best for me in a 5K and it was a 38 second jump from this course last year,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence wasn’t the only one who turned in a strong effort. Three seconds after Lawrence, fellow third-year Kaitlyn Saulter crossed the line, taking 16th place. First-year Emma Jourdain and fourth-year Nora Hubbell rounded out the top-50 runners for UMaine. Jourdain finished 29th posting times of 18:54 and Hubbell was 49th with a 19:38 time. As a team Maine ended with a score of 133 points.

In Lawrence’s standout performance, she already noticed changes in her running.

“I’ve seen improvements in my racing just from last week and I am really excited to compete each week and keep improving.”

Although the fifth place finish left Maine in the bottom half, Lawrence has confidence in her team moving forward.

“I feel like the team has a lot of talent this year and I’m excited to see how everyone does the rest of the season.”

Next up, the men and women’s teams will host their rivals, the University of New Hampshire, Friday, Sept. 15. The dual meet starts at 3 p.m.

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