WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army cross country concluded the home portion of its fall schedule on Friday, just two weeks into the season, as the Black Knights took on regional rivals Cornell and Binghamton in a tri-meet at the West Point Golf Course. The team results were identical for both the men and the women as the Big Red swept both contests, followed by the host Black Knights in second and the visiting Bearcats in third.
In the men’s race, Cornell totaled 18 points as all seven point earners finished among the top 11, including the top-two times. The Big Red’s Ben Potts won the individual title, completing the course, which measured just shy of 8,000 meters, in 24:09.80.
Army, which tallied 53 points, was led once again by junior Ricardo Galindo. Galindo captured third place overall with a time of 24:28.00. The Black Knight’ No. 2 finisher was senior James Hodgen, who was a front runner throughout the meet. Hodgen crossed the line in 24:45.20, earning Army’s second-best time for the second week in a row, and placing eighth overall.
Senior captain Kevin Russell worked his way into Army’s top three after a 13th-place finish (25:01.90) and was joined by Mark Castelli (16th; 25:15.30), newcomer Tom Girardot (17th; 25:16.00), Dan Jester (21st; 25:28.70) and Eric Fenton (23rd; 25:41.00) as the Black Knights’ point earners.
Binghamton, which earned 64 points, was led by Jeffrey Martinez, who placed seventh overall with a time of 24:41.60.
On the women’s side, the impressive Cornell women registered 17 points to win the team belt, taking seven of the top-eight finishes. The Big Red’s Katie Kellner won the individual title, finishing the 5K course in 17:02.50.
Sophomore Lisa Junta was the one non-Cornell runner to finish among the top nine, edging her way into fourth place with an Army-best time of 17:26.80. Junta has solidified her spot at the head of the Army pack, capturing the top Black Knight time for the second week in a row.
Similar to last week’s Army Open, freshman Lisa Gabow and junior Liz O’Donnell followed Junta to earn Army’s second- and third-best marks, respectively. Gabow placed 10th overall with a time fo 18:02.20, while O’Donnell captured 12th with her finish of 18:14.40.
Also earning points for Army was sophomore Rachel King (23rd; 19:04.00), senior captain Mary Prakel (25th; 19:12.40), classmate Jill Busby (28th; 19:22.30) and newcomer Angelica Dickson (30th; 19:23.50). All seven of the Black Knights’ scorers finished among their top eight at last week’s competition.
The Bearcats, who totaled 82 points, were led by Alexis Hatcher, who placed 26th with a time of 19:14.40.
“A Couple weeks ago I was concerned about our men’s upperclassmen understanding the leadership role I needed them to play,” said Army head coach Troy Engle. “But the way that Ricky Galindo and James Hodgen have stepped up makes it clear that they’ve gotten the message.
“Their performances, combined with some strong ones from our younger guys like Tom Girardot and Eric Fenton, shows how we’re making strides. We’re making progress. It’s still too early to tell where we’ll be, but the progress has been promising.
“For the women, the youth up front is exciting,” Engle continued. “Lisa (Junta), of course, is running well and Lindsay Gabow, a freshman, she’s shown that she will end up being an outstanding competitor on the Patriot League level. I’m happy with how the women are doing; we’re in a solid place right now.
“These were good teams we faced today,” Engle stated. “We’ve done an awful lot of hard work these past two weeks, so at the trajectory we’re going at, we can be successful at Iona next weekend. We will absolutely be a different team in five weeks than we are right now, in a good way.”
Army’s five-meet road schedule gets under way next Saturday at the Iona Meet of Champions. The Black Knights will race against a stacked field of nearly 20 teams on the historic course at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y. The first race is set to start at 9:30 a.m.