Aaron Hostetler Staff Writer
The Eastern Connecticut State University Cross Country team have finished their main season strong at their Little East Conference Championship meet on Nov. 2. The meet took place at Umass Dartmouth, and consisted of nine schools in the Little East Conference (LEC), including Keene State, Southern Maine, and Western Connecticut State University.
Overall, the men’s team finished in fourth place with some excellent times for the boys. Many of the athletes have earned personal records for their times. Southern Maine came in first place for the men’s race but had to put up a hard fight against the Eastern athletes to do so. The women’s team have placed first in their race and have once again become LEC champions. This is a difficult feat that they have succeeded for the second time in three years.
Sophomore Ryan Escoda led the men’s team in the 5-mile 8K race with a time of 25:25, a personal record for Escoda who has led the team strong all season. Escoda was followed closely by Tyler Wright, Maxwell Chase, Jorich Schwift, and John Walker, who all ran the race within 27 minutes.
The women’s team was led by Sylvia Lawrence, who ran the women’s 5k race (3.1 miles) in 19:16. She was followed closely by Rachel Oask, Kierra Fontaine, Samara Johnson, Maggie Dulak, and Kailey Schmarr, who all ran under 20 minutes, and finished in the top 15. The success of the women’s team is a major accomplishment. They have previously won LEC’s in 2017, and have now once again won their championship meet. This meet was what everybody had been training for all season and their efforts have finally paid off.
“We worked so hard all season, and we have all motivated each other to get better!” says senior athlete Maggie Dulak. “We knew that if we wanted the LEC title we were going to have to work for it because Keene was such a good team, so we worked extremely hard. We all stayed positive the whole time and it came down to who wanted it more and we sure did.”
This meet was also the last in-season meet for many of the seniors on the cross country team including Maggie Dulak, Samara Johnson, Rachel Oask, Nina Pasqua, Connor LaBreck, and Aaron Hostetler. All will be missed as they have contributed greatly to the team, and have given their best efforts throughout their time at Eastern. Many of them will continue to participate in Track and Field for the remainder of this school year and will hopefully finish their Eastern athletic careers strong.
The NCAA Division III New England’s meet will take place on Saturday, Nov, 16, in Brunswick Maine at 11:00 am, and it will be hosted by Bowdoin College. Eastern’s top runners will participate in their final meet of the season, and based on their previous performances, will most likely produce promising results. “I feel good for New England’s. As a team, we are coming off our best performance and I just hope we can end the season well,” says junior Cameron Gonzalez, who reflects on his thoughts about the meet going forward. “I hope that we can place well as a team and maybe even beat some of the LEC teams that beat us at the conference meet.”
Coaches Manizza, Damarco, Thayer, Vivar, and Hankins have trained their athletes very hard this season, and are all very proud of their accomplishments. All of the athletes have done a tremendous job with their success and will hope to finish their season well at the New England’s meet.