Cross country makes strides at UNE Invitational

Colin FromentCo-Editor-in-Chief

The Lasell cross country teams raced in the UNE Invitational on Sept. 8. Photos courtesy of Lasell Athletics

The men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the University of New England (UNE) Invitational race at Rotary Park in Biddeford, Maine on Sept. 8.  

The men’s team ran an 8k (4.97 miles) race and the women’s team ran a 5k (3.1 miles). Senior Ryan Dalaba and sophomore Amanda Hawkes were among the top finishers of the day. Dalaba finished early for the Lasers coming in at 29 minutes and seven seconds, earning him 15th place out of 63 runners. Hawkes came in 32nd place out of 80 runners (22nd among scorers), completing the race in 22 minutes and 38 seconds.  

Collectively, the men’s team scored a total of 160 points, while the women scored 129 points.  

“It’s a tough course and it was a hot day, so I was expecting something closer…but I’m definitely happy where I ended up,” Dalaba said. Two days later, Dalaba was named Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Runner of the Week for his excellent performance at Rotary Park.  

Hawkes was unable to compete last year, due to an injury, but saw this race as a fresh start for her season. “We went in there not worried, so there was nothing to lose,” Hawkes said.  

Despite the women’s teams running before the men’s teams, Hawkes never felt any pressure while competing. “I get really nervous before races, I always have and probably always will, but in this meet, I just didn’t feel that nervous,” said Hawkes. “[UNE’s] approach was very laid back…the officials were funny and making jokes on the sidelines. It was a fun environment.”  

The men’s team competed with five members who weren’t too familiar with the distance they were running. However, Dalaba never thought this would slow them down at any point.  

Dalaba explained he hasn’t run this long of distance since last year. “[I] was holding on and doing the best I could to not let that impact the entire day for me…if it impacted me, then it impacted the entire team result,” he said. 

The women’s team faced a similar dilemma, with eight competing and only five runners scoring points. Despite this, Hawkes said, “Everyone had a pretty good race, and it was a nice course to race on.”  

Dalaba, as the team’s captain, could not stop offering praise to the rest of his team. “I was happy…just because it was nice to see all the guys fighting for one another,” he says. “In any other sport, you’re working with your team and always seeing what’s going on, but in a race, you may not even see your other teammates and you have to trust that everyone is working just as hard as you, and you have to make sure you’re doing the same [to other teammates].”  

Other runners on the men’s team included juniors Matt Holden (32:30, 28th place), Kyle Mullin (37:19, 38th place), Kevin Wallin (40:13, 39th place), and Mark Payton (41:09, 40th place).  

The women’s runners included senior Ashlee DeBarros (23:38, 25th place), freshman Emma Vierling (23:49, 26th place), freshman Grace West (23:56, 27th place), and senior Stephanie Seedorf (25:19, 29th place). Freshman Emma Murray injured her ankle halfway through her race.  

Both teams have a lot of confidence as their season progresses. “The other courses are typically a lot flatter, so I think we all have some things to take away from [this meet], some confidence boosting for a lot of people. I think we can improve a lot,” says Dalaba.

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