The Women’s Cross Country team placed third at the Central Connecticut State’s Ted Owen Invitational on Saturday, with senior Katie McNulty taking home Atlantic 10 performer of the week.
The Rams third-place finish marked their highest finish up to this point in the season. The squad was led by senior Katie McNulty, who was the first to cross the finish line for the Rams, and seventh overall. McNulty’s 18:55 mark was a full 20 seconds ahead of the next Ram, Camille Bertholon, but the rest of the team wasn’t far behind. Four of her teammates finished within the next 50 seconds, along with two Rams coming in less than a minute after McNulty, totaling seven members of the team crossing the finish line by the 20-minute mark.
The Rams were the only team at the race to have their first seven runners finish under 20 minutes, and they had all 7 runners finish within the top 25 at the race. These runners placed seventh, 13th, 14th, 16th, 21st, 23rd and 25th respectively.
Head Coach Laurie Feit-Melnick had high praise for the team. “We had a great race this past weekend, I was very pleased,” said Feit-Melnick. “We had a very tight pack, our first to our seventh girl was under a minute, which is really what you want to see in cross country. You want to be as tight as possible… I thought it was very positive.”
Feit-Melnick made a point to key in on captain Katie McNulty, who ran the fastest time for the Rams for the second week in a row.
“Katie has led the team for both races,” said Feit-Melnick. “[She] is just an outstanding track and field athlete and she’s making huge improvements in cross country.”
McNulty, who only began cross country in college, began her career as a mid-distance runner. She still runs mid-distance races for URI, however, she said that she was proud of her performance in this past weekend’s tournament. “For me, it’s a big accomplishment just because cross country isn’t my main sport,” said McNulty. “I’m a mid-distance runner so I run the 800 [meter]. Every year I’ve just been progressing, trying to improve my endurance, 5k time, and each year it’s been getting better. I’m really happy with the level of fitness I’m at.”
McNulty, one of the co-captains for the team, echoed Feit-Melnick’s praise for the supporting cast of runners. Speaking on her fellow teammates, McNulty also pointed out the consistency of the other Rams. “I think we have a lot of potential,” she said. “This previous weekend 1-7 was within a minute, which is phenomenal for us.”
While the team wasn’t able to take home any hardware, McNulty was. Her growth as discussed by Feits-Melnick was rewarded in the form of her first Atlantic-10 performer of the week. She ran an 18:55 on the 5K course, putting her at seventh place for the entire event.
McNulty and her teammates are off this week but will get back to work on Oct. 6, where they will compete at the New England Championship in Boston.