Women’s cross country highlights ‘great’ start to season with fourth-place finish

     The University of Rhode Island women’s cross country team placed fourth in the Nassaney Invitational at Bryant University on Saturday. 

      In the Ram’s second meet of the season, the team raced against 11 other schools.  Northeastern took first place with 21 points, UMass Amherst held second place with 69 points and Brown University occupied third place with 86 points. URI came in fourth place with a score of 87 total points just shy of occupying third place.

      Head Coach Laurie Fiet-Melnick discussed the team’s positioning this early in an eight week season.  

    “The team ran really tight,” said Feit-Melnick. “They are a positive running pack.”  

     Although cross country can be seen as an individual sport, Feit-Melnick emphasized the importance of how the team works together, just how they did in Saturday’s race. 

    Fourth-year distance runner Molly Sabia placed twelfth, crossing the finish line at 18:30.1. Sabia time was just 10 seconds away from scoring a spot in the top ten runners. Feit-Melnick pointed out that Sabia had the fastest time on Saturday and was the lead runner for the Rams.

    Feit-Melnick also highlighted the importance of training during the off season in comparison to in season training. 

     “Summer is a key time for training,” Feit-Melnik said. “Many of the girls have been putting in the work this summer”. 

     Feit-Melnick went on to explain that staying consistent with a higher level of running is something she has noticed the team has kept up with over this past summer. 

      The second ram to cross the finish line was fourth-year Hanna O’Connor, in 14th place with a time of 18:46.6. Running into 18th place was third-year Sofia Piccone with a time of 18:51.9. Fourth-year Daniella Napoli secured the 20th spot with a time of 18:53.5. 

       Sabia mentioned a significant factor in the team’s ability this early in the season. 

       “As a whole the energy catapulted this year,” Sabia said.

        Third-year Erin Hurley placed 23rd at 18:59.6 and shortly after, second-year Leyla Kvaternik ran in at 19:00.6 to take the 24th spot.  

        As a senior on the team, Sabia has created bonds with her teammates over the years. 

      “[It is a] great start to the season, no one is burnt out which I’ve seen happen in years before,” Sabia said.  

       Sabia also stressed the importance of the positive energy level from the team this early in the season. 

      Additionally, fourth-year Sophia Dimuccio placed 37th with a time of 19:16.1. Fourth-year Elise Lepage came in 71st place at 20:00.2. Lepage ran in with a time a second faster than UMASS Amherst runner Hannah Beckmann whose school placed second on Saturday.  

     Second-year Linsey Arneds ran into the 76th place with 20:10.7. Second-year Olivia Skapczynski 85th 20:25.7, and fourth-year Corina Vidal finished in the top 100 runners in the 98th spot with a time of 21:00.8. 

       Fiet-Melnick and Sabia emphasized the team as a whole has brought an immense amount of energy  

      “[They are a] great group with great potential,” Fiet-Melnick said. “[It’s] really positive pack running.”

       Looking forward, they both anticipate a successful season with the team.  

       Up next, the Rams will compete next on Saturday, September 30th in the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University at Goodman Campus in Bethlehem Pennsylvania.