Sep 6, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Cross country season officially kicked off with the Army Open on a sunny Friday afternoon at the West Point Golf Course as the Black Knights went toe to toe with Ramapo, Penn State Worthington Scranton, CCNY and Royal Military College. In the 5,000-meter non-scoring meet, Army runners claimed the top spots in both the men’s and women’s races as senior Kendall Ward and Madison Hill won their respective individual titles.
The Army men recorded the top-12 collegiate times led by Ward’s 5K finish of 15:20.89. The senior was followed by classmate and team captain Ricardo Galindo who crossed the line in 15:35.71. Thomas Girardot (third; 15:39.15), Cody Barger (fourth; 15:39.50) and Josh Ecker (sixth; 15:54.44) rounded out Army’s top five.
Army track and field assistant coach Rondell Ruff, a former NCAA Champion at Michigan, ran unattached and finished fifth (15:52.28) to break up the Army pack.
Sophomore Madison Hill made a statement in her first collegiate race by claiming the women’s individual title. Hill, who missed all of last season recovering from an injury sustained during Cadet Basic Training, edged out teammate Brianna Miller, a freshman who was also competing for the first time collegiately, by snapping the tape with a 5K time of 19:00.95. Miller’s official time was 19:02.92.
The Black Knight women captured eight of the top-nine times as sophomore Lindsay Gabow (third; 19:26.96), junior Katrina Mecklenburg (fourth; 19:42.76) and freshman Nicole Carter (fifth; 19:47.13) rounded out the top five.
Courtney Schofield of Ramapo separated Army’s pack with her sixth-place finish of 19:47.13.
“I think we’re exactly where we thought we would be at this time,” said Army head coach Troy Engle. “We’re healthy and fit, as exemplified by the way our guys ran through the hilly course at the tempo they did. The pack we had is exciting. Kendall and our first four guys have been solid all summer long. It was also exciting to see Alex Duffy, Jack Scranton and Trevor Lafontaine move into those positions today; they’ve really stepped up for their classes.
“On the women’s side, Madison Hill and Brianna Miller toeing the line for the first time and running like that is encouraging, plus Lindsay Gabow being so healthy and strong. To be in this shape at this time of year is a very enviable position to be in. We weren’t looking to break any course records, we were just looking for a solid outing and that’s exactly what we had. We’re looking forward to putting in some hard work these next few weeks.”
The Black Knights will get their first dual-meet test a week from today when they travel to Cornell on Sept. 13. Army will square off against the Big Red at 5 p.m. in Ithaca, N.Y.