The difficult conditions at Franklin Park did not prevent the men’s and women’s cross-country teams from scoring a solid showing in the New England Championship on Friday.
The race was not highly competitive as most schools, including Harvard, were looking ahead to next week’s NCAA Pre-National competition at Indiana State.
The women’s cross country team placed 19th overall out of 42 teams. The team was anchored by freshman Kathleen McKee’s finish of 63rd overall.
McKee ran a stellar race, setting a person best time of 18 minutes 55 seconds. Celene Menschel, making her cross-country debut, finished as the second runner for Harvard and 92nd overall.
The 19th place finish showed the depth of the Crimson squad, as some of its top runners sat the race out.
“Overall, the race doesn’t really mean that much, because we weren’t running with our top seven. [Considering the circumstances] we ran really well,” said sophomore Kimberly Smith.
No. 5 Boston College won the women’s varsity race and had three of its runners finish in the top five overall.
The men’s cross country team finished 28th overall out of 46 teams. Senior Nathan Shenk-Boright led the team with a 57th-place individual finish in his first race back after injury.
“It was pretty exciting to see Shenk back. He is usually our No. 2 guy, and he ran a great race with no training,” said sophomore Russell Leino.
The cold, rainy conditions at Franklin Park were not ideal for a fast race. However, each member of the men’s team set personal records, some breaking former PRs by 20 to 30 seconds.
“Everyone did well despite the weather,” Leino said. “It was huge to race with tough competition and I thought we did well even without the best conditions.”
The Crimson sat out some of its top seven runners, but the team still showed its depth by finishing respectably despite its relative inexperience.
Providence College won the men’s race, and top runner Adam Sutton finished first overall by nearly thirty seconds.
—Contributing writer Michael James can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.