Sept. 15, 2012
BRONX, N.Y. – For the first time in program history, the Army women’s cross country team captured the team title at the Iona Meet of Champions on Saturday morning. Running at the historic course at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y., the Black Knight women were anchored by three top-10 times to clinch the trophy among the 12-team field with 112 runners.
Listed at 6,100 meters, the five Army scorers averaged a winning time of 23:13 led by sophomore standout Lisa Junta. Junta, who was the third scorer overall to complete the course, crossed the line in 22:23.10. Junior Liz O’Donnell followed in sixth place with her time of 22:56.84, while freshman Lindsay Gabow rounded out Army’s top three in eighth place (23:05.51).
Junta has earned Army’s top time in each of the first three meets, while O’Donnell and Gabow swapped positions after running the third and second-best team times, respectively, the past two weeks.
Overall, the Army women totaled 63 points to edge out runner-up Penn with 76 and third-place team Indiana (Pa.) which tallied 96. Prior to 2012, the Black Knights’ best team finish was in 1997 when they collected third place.
Unattached runner Kate Avery finished first overall (2:19.35), while Iona’s Marion Joly-Testau was the top scorer to cross the line at 22:10.44.
On the men’s side, Army totaled 122 points to place fifth in a field of 14. Brown won the team title with 44 points, while Kent State’s Michael Heller won the individual belt with an 8K time of 25:22.26.
For the third consecutive week, junior Ricardo Galindo and senior James Hodgen finished 1-2 for the Black Knights. Galindo placed 15th overall in a field of 141, crossing the line in 26:02.25. Hodgen followed in 18th place (26:12.29), while Mark Castelli rounded out the top three with a 26th-place time of 26:22.73.
The Army men averaged a hilly 8K time of 26:20.
“For the women, that’s a heck of 1-2-3 punch,” said Army head coach Troy Engle. “It was certainly a breakthrough meet for Liz O’Donnell – she ran a fantastic race. It was a good, solid performance for our women. For our men, most exciting for me was only 29 seconds separated our first (Galindo) and our fifth (Kevin Russell) runners. That’s something we look for as coaches which shows that your team is a solid big-meet team.”
The Iona meet marks the final weekend of consecutive competitions of the season. After three straight weekends with events, Army will have two weeks before racing again when it travels to the Paul Short Invite on Sept. 28. Hosted by conference foe Lehigh, the annual race traditionally features over 40 teams, including a handful from the Patriot League.