September 19, 2018 | ° F

RU women finish at No. 10 in conference

Both the Rutgers women’s and men’s cross country teams entered the Big East Championships with confidence they could compete this year, and left with 10th- and 11th-place finishes, respectively.

Women’s head coach James Robinson believed his team could have finished higher, but understood the depth of competition the Big East provides.

“I thought we did the best we could do,” Robinson said. “We were hoping top 10 and we placed 10th, so it went well. When the 28th-ranked team in the country [Connecticut] finishes seventh in your own conference, that shows the high level competition of the Big East.”

Sophomore Brianna Deming crossed the finish line first for the Scarlet Knights, followed by junior Anjelica Brinkofski.

Seemingly the one-two punch for the team all season, Deming completed the race 53rd overall with a finishing time of 22:15.0. Brinkofski followed with a final time of 22:25.0, placing 67th overall in the championships. In all, seven runners placed for Rutgers.

“We did want to do better, but overall we were pleased,” Brinkofski said. “This was the best we’ve done since we’ve all been here. We accomplished top 10 and that’s what we really wanted to do.”

Villanova left Louisville, Ky., with the women’s 6K title. The Wildcats’ 54 points beat out second-place finisher Providence and Georgetown, which finished third.

Syracuse, West Virginia, Notre Dame, UConn, South Florida and Marquette all finished in front of the Knights in the 16-team event.

Villanova’s Sheila Reid captured the individual title with a first-place time of 19:40.9. Teammate Bogdana Mimic followed with a time of 19:51.2 and West Virginia’s Kate Harrison posted a time of 19:52.7 to finish third.

Sophomore Chris Banafato led the men’s 11th-place finish.

His final time of 26:05.6 was good for 78th in the field. A pair of freshmen placed back-to-back for the Knights, with Chris Defabio and Casey Weiss finishing 85th and 86th, respectively. Like the women, seven men placed for Rutgers in the race.

Villanova also took the men’s team crown in the 8K race.

Georgetown came in second with a score of 94, and Louisville rounded out the top three with a finishing score of 96 behind Villanova’s 43. Syracuse and Providence completed the race fourth and fifth, respectively, and Notre Dame, Marquette, Cincinnati, DePaul and UConn rounded out the top 10.

Eric Finan of Cincinnati won the Big East’s individual title with a time of 23:17.7, which beat out the rest of the field by more than 10 seconds. Providence’s David McCarthy finished in second with a time of 23:29.3, and third-place finisher Matthew Hughes of Louisville finished third with a mark of 23:38.2.

With both teams finishing among the bottom half of competitors, there is room for improvement as they prepare for the District II Championships on Nov. 12 in Princess Ann, Md.

“We need to work on the middle of the race,” Brinkofski said. “We are good at the beginning and good at the end, but we just need to keep the motivation strong throughout the whole race.”

By Bradly Derechailo

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