Men’s Cross Country Places at Princeton Invitational: Eight Pioneer Runners Set Personal Records

Sacred Heart men's Cross Country finishes 13th at the Princeton Invitational. Photo by Sacred Heart Athletics.

Sacred Heart men’s Cross Country finishes 13th at the Princeton Invitational. Photo by Sacred Heart Athletics.

By Carolyn Eckel

Staff Reporter

The Sacred Heart University’s men’s cross country team took part in the Princeton Invitational and finished in thirteenth place out of a total of 23 teams.

Eight of the men placed and five freshman ran their personal best.

The first Sacred Heart Pioneer to cross the finish line in the men’s 8k race was graduate student Connor Rog.

He ran his season best of 24:42 finishing 19 over all out of 226 other runners.

Recently, Rog was named the Northeastern Conference Athlete of the Week for the fourth time. At the New England Championship, Rog ran a 24:51 8k and finished sixth out of the 219 runners that took part in the event.

To date, Rog is the fastest Sacred Heart student to run at Franklyn Park.

Sophomore Joshua Hadity was the second to cross the finish line following Rog. He completed the race with a time of 25:07, ending 57th overall.

He was able to knock a minute and a half off of his previous race times. Junior Trevor Guerra was the third to come in for the Pioneers, with a time of 25:27 finishing 88th.

Rog and Hadity are on the program’s All-Time list for the 8k and 5-mile race. They are ranked third and fourth respectively.

“The team’s performance was great, almost everyone ran personal best. We placed thirteenth out of 21 teams in a very competitive field of runners,” said Hadity.

Freshman Gilmar Barrios and junior Andrew Handfield were in the fourth and fifth spots for Sacred Heart.

Barrios with a time of 25:51 and Handfield with a time of 25:53, they both beat their personal best as well.

Freshman Christopher Peabody finished with a time of 26:43. Junior Jake Tavernite and freshman Nicholas Pandolfo ran the same time of 26:44.

All three runners set their personal best times.

Freshman Minas Kostis, Justin Klotz, Scott Curtis, Gavin Thurlow and Stavros Xanthacos also set their personal best at the Princeton Invitational.

“I think as a team if we ran as well as we did at the Princeton Invitational we will be one of the favored teams to win the NEC championship,” said Hadity.

The Pioneers are looking to continue their accomplishments at the Northeast Conference Cross Country Championships at St. Francis University at Immergrun Golf Course in Loretto, Pa. on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Pioneer Cross Country Runners Earn Weekly Honors

By Kendall Gregory

Staff Reporter

The Sacred Heart University cross country team started off their season strong with performances at the Saint Francis University Father Bede Cross Country Invitational. Their first meet on Sept. 2 ended with the men’s team placing first overall out of six teams, with the women’s team placing second out of nine.

Two Pioneers stood out amongst the rest, each in their Sacred Heart debut. Graduate student Connor Rog and freshman Jody DiCicco, each received NEC Weekly Honors. Rog was named NEC Male Athlete of the Week, while DiCicco was named NEC Female Rookie of the Week.

“I really wasn’t expecting it,” said DiCicco. “I was initially nervous, but I always think of the mindset, ‘just see what happens.’ I didn’t expect anything from it. It was a nice surprise.”

The freshman from Berlin, CT placed third with a time of 19:51, only one of three to break the 20:00 minute mark. Having only run Cross Country for a year in high school, DiCicco was the fastest freshman on the field and the only freshman to place in the Top 10.

Coach Christian Morrison was quite pleased with how DiCicco has started her season.

“I didn’t know what to expect from Jody because she is a freshman, and you never know how a freshman will adjust to college running. Fortunately, she has made a smooth transition thus far,” said Morrison.

Rog, a graduate transfer from the University of Virginia, completed the 5k with the time of 16:03. This time gave Rog his first collegiate Cross Country win.

“This was a huge deal for me, especially for someone who had taken a while off of racing and did not necessarily know how it would all pan out,” said Rog. “It was a big confidence booster for me and brought me reassurance that I was truly back to the runner that I once was.”

Rog took his senior year off from competitive running before returning to compete for the Pioneers.

“I realized what I wanted to do with my life and found the path that I wanted to take, but I also really did miss being in shape and I missed the ‘high’ that I got from running,” said Rog.

Rog and DiCicco followed up their NEC Honors performance with another strong outing at the University of Massachusetts CC Invitational. Rog placed second overall for the men, with DiCicco having a personal best of 18:11, the second fastest program time in program history.

However, the cross country season is long from over.

“I think they’ll both keep working hard and taking good care of themselves, so they can go on to be successful in our championship meets later in the season,” said Morrison.

The Pioneers next meet will be the Fairfield University Victor F. Leeber CC Invitational on Sept. 24.

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