Cross-country: Panthers fall short at Big East Championships

By Kelly Flanigan

The Pitt cross country teams needed everything to go right in order to have a shot at placing… The Pitt cross country teams needed everything to go right in order to have a shot at placing high at the Big East Championships last weekend.

But the elements of the race didn’t add up to a favorable outcome for the men’s and women’s teams in Jamesville, N.Y., on Saturday.

“The Big East Championship was the most difficult race of the season so far,” senior Josh Christopher said. “Not only because of the quality of competition, but because of the [muddy] conditions and the course. It was a hilly course, so when you combine the two together, we didn’t get solid results as a team.”

The men came in 12th place out of 14 teams, and the women finished 15th out of 16 teams. The women competed first in a 6K race, followed by the men, who ran an 8K.

Syracuse picked up its second consecutive Big East title on the men’s side, and the Villanova women won their third consecutive title.

Christopher led Pitt’s men’s team for the second consecutive race, followed by Teddy Miller, Vinnie DePalma, Kevin Hull and Andrew Cerrito. Christopher finished in 55th place overall with a time of 27:16.1.

“I ran as hard as I could at [the championships], which is the most important thing for myself,” he said. “But I know that I’m capable of running much better.”

“I knew we would have to run above our ability in order to beat more teams in such a competitive conference,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, we did not step up on Saturday. Most of the team ran on par with how they did all season.”

Freshman Susannah Feinstein led the women again and finished with a final time of 24:12.8. Filling out the remaining top five slots for the women were Emily Barno, Miya Johnson, Stephanie Powers and Elesia Wilson.

“Right now, I’m just looking forward to our next race because it’s the Regional Championships. It’s a longer race (10K instead of 8K) which suits my racing style better, and it’s the single most important race of the season,” Christopher said.

“Personally, I did not do as well as I wanted to. I had a disappointing race. Normally, I run well on courses which are hilly and muddy,” Miller said. “I have one more important race left, and nothing to lose, so you can expect a much different race in two weeks.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams have the next week off, and will resume action in preparation for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships held on Sat. Nov. 13 at State College, Pa.