Rutgers heads to New York for Metropolitan Championships
The Rutgers men's cross country team will be competing in the Metropolitan Championships today. The course will be raced on Van Cortlandt Park (VCP) in the Bronx, N.Y. and will be hosted by Fordham University.
The Metropolitan Championships serves as an important preview race for the IC4A Championships on Nov. 17, since it will be held on the same course.
The VCP’s cross country course running trail is more than 100 years old, opening in 1913. The park’s hilly geology of Fordham Gneiss outcrops offers a great challenge for runners. Starting in the flats of the Parade Ground and circling over Vault Hill, the course winds through the Northwest woods and ends back to the Parade Ground. The steepest part, known as The Wall, is the most difficult part for runners, since it tests their endurance and stamina.
“This meet has been held for many years, going back to the 50s,” said head coach Mike Mulqueen.
The Scarlet Knights dominated the meet last year, winning the title and placing all five point-scoring runners in the top-11 of the 8,000-meter run, with a total time was 2:10:51. Rutgers outplaced a field of 11 programs, including defending champion Manhattan University.
“We won the meet last year and it was the first win for Rutgers since 1986. We are the defending champions. We hope to win another title this weekend,” said senior Conor Murphy.
As a sophomore last year, Cole Pschunder finished in fifth place out of the 111 runners with a time of 26:01.8. Alumnus Luke Wiley was on Pschunder’s tail and finished in sixth place with a time of 26:03.9.
As juniors last year, Murphy (26:11.8) and Dom Munson (26:12.2) finished in eighth and ninth place, respectively. Finishing with a time of 26:21.5 last year was alumnus Trent Brinkofski, who placed in 11th place.
“This meet is definitely important for the Big Ten Championships because it gives us an indicator of where our fitness is at. A good performance at this meet would give us momentum and confidence heading into Big Ten,” Murphy said.
The last meet the Knights raced was Iona College Meet of Champions, back in September. The course was raced at VCP, as well.
“We’ve been training for four consecutive weeks in order to prepare for this meet and the rest of the championship season. We have all been working hard and I’m confident that the team is well prepared for this weekend,” Murphy said.
The Knights will travel to the Bronx early on Friday and compete at 10:30 a.m.
After this race, Rutgers will have the Big Ten Championships to worry about, which will begin two weeks after this weekend's event.
“Since the last race, we’ve had a month of solid training. We will taper off this week to feel rested for Friday. We are going to try and win the race since we won last year. However, Fordham, Manhattan and Columbia are all very good, so it will definitely be tough,” Mulqueen said.
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