RU places second in 5K Metros
When Rutgers assistant women’s cross country coach Jan Merrill-Morin looked at the pack of runners emerging from the cluster of trees at Van Cortlandt Park Friday, she was ecstatic to see sophomore Brianna Deming leading the way.
“It definitely stood out for me when she came out of the woods and she was ahead,” Merrill-Morin said. “It was quite exciting, and she looked really good.”
Deming kept the lead through the finish line as she captured the women’s individual 5K title at the Metropolitan Championships. Her finishing time of 18:05 beat out second- and third-place finishers Noelle Van Rysselberghe and Anne Carey of Columbia.
Along with Deming’s individual victory, the Scarlet Knights placed seven runners in the top-35 competitors en route to a second-place team finish. Columbia took the 5K team title with St. Johns taking third.
It was the team’s first visit to Van Cortlandt Park since its fourth-place finish in September at the Fordham Fiasco and Follies. Merrill-Morin saw the improvement from the last time the Knights visited the course.
“Everyone improved from when we went there for the Fordham Fiasco to this race,” Merrill-Morin said. “I was extremely pleased.”
Along with Deming, junior Anjelica Brinkofski was the other Knight to finish among the top-10 competitors. Her time of 18:39 was good enough for a sixth-place individual finish.
“I was very pleased with the performance,” Merrill-Morin said. “We need to continue to be consistent and not make a lot of changes to what we are doing. We just need to keep doing what we have been doing.”
The men’s team also enjoyed success Friday as it continues to pull in consistent finishes by placing sixth out of 13 teams in the Metropolitan Championships. The finish was the third time this season in which the team placed in the top half of competing teams.
Columbia captured the team 8K title with a total of 22 points while placing an impressive six runners in the top 10.
Junior Julian Saad of Fordham crossed the finish line first with a finishing time of 25:15 in the individual event. Columbia’s Byron Jones and Daniel Everett finished second and third, respectively, with times of 25:19 and 25:32.
Rutgers placed two runners in the top 50 of finishers. Senior Ben Forrest led the way for the Knights, placing 30th with a time of 26:57, along with Chris Banafato with a 44th-place finish. Other runners placing for Rutgers included Chris Defabio, Brian Wells, Thomas Bragen, Curtis Richburg and Steven Burkholder.
Both teams have one more event before they participate in the Big East Championships. They look to continue their success when they travel to Waterford, Conn., to compete in the Connecticut College Invitational.