COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's and women's cross country teams hosted the Northeast-10 Conference Preview Meet on Saturday, their first home event since 2012, in advance of hosting their initial NE-10 Championship since 2009 on Oct. 25. The Purple Knight men placed third among five squads with 68 points, while the women were fifth out of seven en route to scoring 115 points.
Four teams ranked in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) East Region poll were on hand for the races. The Southern Connecticut State University men, who are ranked eighth, won with 31 points to edge out fifth-ranked Southern New Hampshire University by two points. On the women's side, fifth-ranked American International College topped the field with 35 points, while third-ranked Assumption College was second at 52. NAIA member University of South Carolina Beaufort, which is coached by former Saint Michael's women's cross country head coach Larry Kimball, also competed in the women's meet, taking fourth.
Junior Ross Henry (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Kenston) led the Purple Knight men by taking seventh place among 50 runners in the 8K with a time of 27:48 as one of only eight runners to crack the 28-minute barrier. Classmate Torin La Liberte (Madison, N.H./Kennett) finished 10th at 28:03, while first-year David Baird (Higganum, Conn./Haddam-Killingworth) was 10 seconds behind in 13th. Classmate Liam Schmelzle (Saint Louis Park, Minn./Saint Louis Park) placed 16th by crossing the finish line in 28:30, and fellow first-year Matthew Logue (Watertown, Conn./The Gunnery) rounded out his team's top five in 25th place.
Three rookies were among the Purple and Gold women's top five. Junior Molly Roush (Rouses Point, N.Y./Northeastern Clinton Central School) was 13th among 74 after finishing in 24:35 during the 6K, while first-year Emily Calder (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopkinton) nabbed 24th place at 25:13. Classmate Emily Kopacz (Windsor, Conn./Windsor) notched a 35th-place showing at 25:52, and sophomore Roxy Withers (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy), a first-year member of the team, took 41st in 26:14. Senior Brianna McKinley (Moultonborough, N.H./Moultonborough Academy) was one spot back, at 26:26.
The Purple Knights head to Johnson State College next Saturday for the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship. The men's race begins at 11 a.m., and the women follow one hour later.