Story written and posted by Anthony Perry, Rivier University Sports Information Director
WENHAM, MASS. – The Rivier University Cross Country teams began their season this morning as they competed at the 48th annual Pop Crowell Invitational hosted by Gordon College. The 6k women's event and 8k men's event saw the University of New England capture team championships in each race. The Raiders finished 7th overall in the women's event with the men finishing at 7th overall.
Junior Samantha Molinari (Litchfield, N.H.) claimed the individual championship, becoming the first member of the Rivier Cross Country program to ever win the Pop Crowell. Her time of 24:27 in the 6k event was just two seconds faster than the second place finisher, UNE's Jasmine Syed (24:29). Four other Raiders finished the tough meet with senior Sarah Thieme (Middletown, R.I.) finishing at 33:57 (67th overall, 43rd place) and junior Lauren Ferentino (Hudson, N.H.) crossing the line at 34:06 (68th/44th). Senior Samantha Hilsman (Rehoboth, Mass.) and freshman Hayli Ruiter (Hudson, N.H.) rounded out the team with finishes of 39:40 (81st/49th) and 40:20 (82nd/50th), respectively.
In the men's 8k event, senior Yash Jagtap (North Andover, Mass.) was the first member of the men's cross country team to cross the finish line as he recorded a time of 35:02 which was good enough for a 51st overall finish and a 37th place finish. Freshman Benjamin Lindsey (Derry, N.H.) was the next member to finish the race as he debuted with a time of 41:20 for 78th overall, 48th place. Classmate Nikolas Pignone (Stoneham, Mass.) was right behind Lindsey at 41:42 (79th/49th) and fellow rookie Chance Eason-Jones (Manchester, Conn.) checked in at 44:32 (84th/50th). The Raiders team scores were rounded out with the finishes of freshmen Nesta Roberts (Manchester, Conn.) and Kevin Redler (Ellington, Conn.) who both crossed the line at 53:59. Roberts was awarded the 87th overall finish and 51st place while Redler was given the 88th and final finisher and a 52nd place finish.
The Rivier University Women's and Men's Cross Country teams will hit the course next Friday afternoon as they travel down to Buzzards Bay, Mass. for the 15th annual Travis J. Fuller Invitational, hosted by Massachusetts Maritime Academy.