Cross country finishes near top of leaderboard in third meet

The men’s team won its third meet in a row, and the women placed second at the Joe Piane Invitational on Friday in South Bend, Indiana.

Then freshman Kristian Jensen runs during the Temple Invitational on Sept. 1 at Belmont Plateau. He finished sixth at the Joe Piane Invitational on Friday in Indiana to help the men's team win its third race in a row. | MIKE NGUYEN / FILE PHOTO

After Friday’s Joe Piane Invitational, senior Katie Pinson and junior Katie Leisher had a message for their teammates.

They told the rest of the Owls to be ready to work hard in the next month so they can “dominate the conference meet,” coach James Snyder said.

The men won their third meet in a row to start the season, while the women followed their two first-place marks to start the campaign with a second-place finish at the race hosted by the University of Notre Dame.

Freshman Kristian Jensen finished sixth in a 160-runner field in the five-mile race with a time of 24 minutes, 48.2 seconds. Freshman Anton Harrsen finished 11th, and graduate student Marc Steinsberger finished 17th.

For the women, sophomore Grace Moore was the Owls’ top runner for the second meet in a row. She finished the 5,000-meter race seventh out of 204 runners with a time of 17:29.2.

“We came in with a mindset of winning both races,” Snyder said. “Anytime we can come into a big race and take care of business it is always something to be proud of.”

“Kristian and Anton did a really good job of running a patient race,” Snyder added. “Those two waited to make their move after the 4,000-meter mark and finished strong for two freshmen. Steinsberger had a bit of a down day, but we did a good job of picking each other up.”

Sophomores Kevin Lapsansky and Zach Seiger finished 19th and 32nd respectively to give the men a 38-point victory.

In the women’s race, Leisher crossed the finish line 17th, Pinson finished 33rd and sophomore Millie Howard placed 35th. Freshman Helene Gottlieb claimed 48th.

Snyder was pleased with the runners’ effort, especially because they ran in a much bigger field than they did in their first two meets. The Rider Invitational on Sept. 15 had 59 women and 79 men.

After a strong showing, the team is focusing on the Athletic American Conference championships on Oct. 28.

“The next month we have to put our heads down and work hard,” Snyder said. “We will cut the mileage down a little as we freshen up, but really the intensity of these sessions will be dialed up as we see what we are made of.”

Leading up to the conference championships, Snyder only wants to make adjustments if needed.

The Owls have two meets before The American’s race. Their next meet is the Jack St. Clair Invite at Belmont Plateau on Oct. 7.

“This group is as mature as they get,” Snyder said. “With that maturity comes trust from me. I trust my runners to work hard and make the adjustments they have to do to be in a great spot come championship season.”

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