Men’s and women’s cross country have strong showing in Boston

The University of Rhode Island men’s and women’s cross country teams were both in action this past weekend competing at the 107th New England Cross Country Championship at Franklin Park in Boston.

The 2019 New England Cross Country Championships featured 25 men and 22 women’s teams from across New England from all three NCAA divisions. 

The Rams men’s cross country team has had a lot of prior success in the early years of this competition. The team has won the competition a total of 12 times, including nine times between 1940 and 1949. Since the inception of the women’s portion of the New England Championships in 1997, the Rams women’s team has not yet won this competition. 

Last year, the Rams men’s team finished 14th out of 26 teams while the women’s team finished 15th out of 24 teams.

Both teams went into the race looking to improve on the results they had at last year’s competition and did exactly that. The men’s team finished in 11th place scoring 303 points, while the women’s team finished in 13th place scoring 376 points. 

Sophomore Eric Zulkofske finished as the top runner for the Rams earning a personal best of 25:34, and finished 25th in the Men’s 8K Championship. He was followed by senior Joseph Maguire, who finished 43rd and freshmen Ben Fleischer who finished 58th. Fleischer was also able to drop his personal best by a minute to run the fastest 5K by a true freshman in a championship race in five years. 

Connor Gralton, who was the top finisher for the Rams at the CCSU Ted Owens Invitational, was the fourth runner to finish for the Rams, placing 74th overall. 

On the women’s side, junior Ashley Evans ran a season-best 19:23 to come out as the top runner for Rhody, and good for 64th overall in the Women’s 5K Championship. 

“It was wonderful to see,” said Women’s cross-country Coach Laurie Feit-Melnick on her performance this weekend. “She’s got lots of talent and is set to have a great junior year.” 

She was followed by senior Camille Bertholon, who set a Franklin Park-best with a time of 19:24, and sophomore Becca Durham, who finished 74th. 

In her second collegiate race, sophomore Jackie Peschko finished 95th in the Women’s non-championship 5K with a time of 21:14.  

Overall, Coach Feit-Melnick was very pleased with her team’s performance this weekend. 

“It was very positive for everyone because a majority of them [her runners] had a personal best on the course,” said Coach Feit-Melnick.

The men’s and women’s cross country team will return on Oct. 18th to compete at the Brown “Rothenberg” Invitational just down the road at Goddard Memorial State Park in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.