Rutgers places 10th at Mid-Atlantic Region Championship
For the Rutgers men’s cross-country team, the longest meet of the year was also one of its most impressive and drew the attention of its rivals.
The Scarlet Knights finished 10th out of 22 teams at the Mid-Atlantic Region Championship in State College, Pennsylvania, on Friday.
It was the team’s best performance at the meet in a long time. Not only did they finish in the top 10 for the first time in more than 10 years, but its 285 points was also its lowest total in more than a decade.
“We had a great showing by our guys today,” said head coach Mike Mulqueen. “They ran very tough.”
Georgetown won the 10-kilometer race, followed by Navy and Princeton in second and third, respectively.
The Knights improved on last year's 13th place finish, as well on their 11th place finish at the Big Ten Championships two weeks ago.
Rutgers ran the race well as a pack. Its time differential was only 30 seconds, and, as a team, it averaged almost 40 seconds faster than it did last year.
Sophomore Conor Murphy was the team’s top performer, finishing in 47th place with a time of 31:43. He improved on his performance last year, when he finished in 51st with a time of 32:05.9.
Sophomore Dominick Munson was not far behind, crossing the line in 53rd place with a time of 31:52.3, which was a big improvement over his 98th place finish last year.
“I felt good about my performance, especially because it was a 10k and it was a personal record for me,” he said. ”Last year I ran around 32:59, so I was able to PR by about a minute, and it was on a harder course this year. I came in 98th last year, so coming in 53rd was a huge improvement.”
Finishing a split second behind him was junior Luke Wiley in 54th, and rounding out the Knights’ top four was junior Trent Brinkofski in 60th.
Other contributors for Rutgers were junior Alex Livernois in 72nd, freshman Nick Pschunder in 113th, and senior Nick Price in 122nd.
Early in the race, Rutgers found itself playing catch-up. Four miles into the race, it was in 13th place, trailing Pittsburgh by 75 points. But it turned up the heat in the second half of the race and managed to edge out the Panthers by four points.
“It was good that we were able to make up a lot of ground, but I think next time we could put ourselves ahead in the earlier parts of the race and making our way up into the top six or seven,” Munson said.
Despite their early struggles, the Knights’ overall performance drew praise from their opponents.
“The St. Joe’s coach came up to us after the race and told us that we should be proud of ourselves,” Munson said. “A lot of the coaches have said that Rutgers has really made some huge improvements, and it’s exciting to see our program start growing and getting better and being competitive in the region. That was really exciting for us to hear, especially from a team that we’re usually rivals against.”
The Knights return to action for the final time this Saturday at the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America Championship (IAAAAC) in Van Cordlandt Park in the Bronx.
After finishing second-to-last in the Big Ten Championships, it was a huge confidence booster for the team to finish in the top 10 against some of the best teams in the region and in the country. Performing consistently well, especially this late into the season, is something that they should be proud of.
“We’re all really fired up about it,” Munson said. “It’s the highest we’ve finished in the region in a really long time. We’re only graduating one senior this year, so we’re looking forward to how we can place in the future.”
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