June 18, 2019 | 68° F

Rutgers places 19th at NCAA District Championships

The Rutgers men's cross country team finished in 16th place at the NCAA District Championships, hosted at Penn State. The Scarlet Knights had a combined runners' time of 2:45:16 with 368 total points.

The championship race was held at the Blue and White Courses, which consists of a 10-kilometer race for the men. Compared to Rutgers' previous races throughout the season, the length of the race expands from their normal 8k. Four out of the 7 Knights had never raced a 10k before.

Princeton took the title as champions for the second consecutive year, as all of its runners finished with a 2:37:24 total time. Villanova followed the Tigers in second with a total time of 2:37:52 and Georgetown in third with 2:38:36.

The race was held under harsh conditions of rainfall and cold temperatures. This added on to the difficulties for Rutgers in attempting to perform its best.

“There could be some room of improvement for the younger runners," said head coach Mike Mulqueen.

Senior Conor Murphy led the Knights and finished in 17th place out of a field of 169 runners. He clocked in at 31:48 with a pace of 5:08. In 2017, he finished with a 31:25 time. 

Murphy was selected to the All-NCAA Regional Accolades Cross Country Team, marking the first Rutgers’ All-Regional honoree since 1989.

“We are going to miss him next season, but Conor has taught me a lot these first two years I’ve been here," said sophomore Patrick Walsh. "And I look forward to promoting the same hard work, high moral and grit that Conor has led us with throughout his whole career."

Two runners who made the top 100 were junior Cole Pschunder, who finished with a time of 32:08 and Walsh, who had a 33:06 time.

A minute after Walsh finished was sophomore Genaro Anzalone, who clocked in at 34:05 and finished in 116th place. Freshman Nick Hutchison was right behind Anzalone with a time of 34:09.

Freshman Will Berger placed 126th, clocking in at 34:16. Last for the Knights was junior Andrew Comito, who finished his race in 34:37.

“The results were not what we had hoped for. We wanted to place at least top 10 as a team," Pschunder said. "We’ll just treat this as a learning experience and come back stronger next year."

Rutgers will end its season at the IC4A Championships where it hopes to place as a top team in the region. 

The next meet will be a lower pressure event, where the team can run as hard as it wants.

“I definitely want to see us all getting personal records for this course and placing high as a team. It’s Conor’s last race at Rutgers, which is sad, but I want to go out strong with him,” Pschunder said.

The IC4A Championships will be held in the Bronx, N.Y. on Saturday, Nov. 17. The mens' 8k will be held at Van Cortlandt Park, where the Knights have competed three times this season.

"I'm grateful for all the coaching and support of my team," Murphy said, a week before his final collegiate race.

For updates on the Rutgers cross country team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Cailee Oliver

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