The Ithaca College men’s and women’s cross-country teams are off to a strong start as they both placed second at the Hamilton College Short Course Invitational on Sept. 8 at Hamilton College.
Even though a full-length collegiate cross-country course is 8,000-meters for men and 6,000-meters for women, the Hamilton College course gave the Bombers the opportunity to ease into their season with a 5,000-meter race for the men and a 4,000-meter for the women.
The women’s team showed their strength as the No. 10 Division III team in the nation behind a strong run from senior Sarah Rudge. Rudge led the South Hill squad across the finish line, placing fifth with a time of 15:16.5. The time was a 32–second personal best for Rudge, who placed 14th at the Hamilton Short Course meet in 2017.
Sophomore Kelly Farrell and junior Annika Morrison had stellar performances as well, crossing the line in 15:26.1 and 15:36.4 respectively to bring home seventh and eighth place for the Blue and Gold.
Junior Maria Matkoski, finishing just two seconds behind Morrison with a time of 15:38.6, took ninth and junior Parley Hannan placed 11th with a time of 15:44.2 to round out the Top 5 scoring runners for the Bombers. Farrell, Morrison, and Matkoski also set personal records in the 4k.
With a team score of 40 points, the women claimed second place overall, only seven points behind the winning team, Hamilton College. This was a huge improvement for the Bombers from their fourth place finish with 98 points in 2017 at the same meet.
On the men’s side, junior Carl Fortna led the charge, competing in his first collegiate cross-country meet. Fortna finished with a time of 16:03.3 to earn sixth place. The rest of the Blue and Gold followed close behind as junior Schafer Wilson came through two seconds after Fortna to place seventh in a time of 16:05.
Sophomore Alec Hoefer and senior Owen Memelo took 11th and 13th place with times of 16:13.6 and 16:17. Completing the Top 5 for the South Hill squad was sophomore Stephen Malenowski, who claimed 16th in a time of 16:21.3. Wilson, Hoefer, and Malenowski all notched 5k personal bests in this race.
The men’s team, like the women’s, took second to Hamilton by an even smaller margin of five points. The Bombers’ team score was 53. They also showed a massive improvement from their showing in the Short Course Invitational in 2017 where they placed sixth with a score of 156.
Both men’s and women’s cross-country will be back in action at 11 a.m. Sept. 15 at the University of Rochester Yellowjacket Invitational in Rochester, New York.