The ‘Cats cross country teams took to the starting line once more this past Friday at the Coast-to-Coast meet at Franklin Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The men’s team placed 11th out of 15 teams in their 8-kilometer race with 286 points, while the women’s team fared well, finishing in 6th place out of 13 in the 5k race with 132 points.
The men got off to a wobbly start in the beginning of their race during the hectic first mile.
“Overall we try and go out as a team and we lost each other early. The first mile at Franklin Park is always fast no matter what so we try and get a running pack and know the pace,” head coach Jim Boulanger said. “The overall goal was to be top ten even though I think people look at our group and might not see it that way.”
However, the team was able to recover slightly during the race and form a solid pack by the finish. The top six UNH runners were all within a minute of each other ranging from 25 minutes, 35 seconds, to 26:36. Boulanger overall was satisfied with the result.
“Very happy for what they are doing and [they are] training hard,” Boulanger said. “Only six weeks left in the season believe it or not so we’ll have to see how we’ll keep this rolling.”
Leading the charge was junior Timothy Kenefick. Kenefick placed 35th with a time of 25:36 and came through the 5k mark at 16:07, setting himself up for a quick pace of 5:09 per mile. Following him was senior Mitchell Dutton at 58th (26:09), freshman Nicholas Brown in 67th (26:17), junior Ryan Chiesa for 70th (26:21), sophomore Brett Hoerner in 73rd (26:27) and sophomore Cody Symonds in 78th (26:36).
The men will have a tough matchup next week against the University of Maine for a dual meet. Maine’s strong team placed fifth at the Coast-to-Coast meet. The ‘Cats will toe the line against Maine on Friday, Sept. 23 at 3 p.m.
The women’s team also had an exciting day with one of their own claiming first in her debut this season. Junior Elinor Purrier took first place in her first cross country race back since 2014 when she was the America East individual champion. After redshirting the 2015 season and sitting out the first meet of this current season, Purrier came back strong with a first place finish in a time of 17:06 in the 5k race, three seconds ahead of second place finisher Isabelle Kennedy from Boston College.
Following up Purrier, the ‘Cats had senior Sarah Keiran and freshman Meg Champagne place 24th and 25th respectively. The two were one second apart coming in at 18:13 and 18:14 respectively. Next was Melissa Menghini in 37th (18:29), Hannah Kimball in 49th (18:39), and Alex Giese in 55th (18:51). The women’s team had 8 runners within a minute spread from 18:13 to 19:13.
The women’s team will travel to Maine next Friday for a dual meet at 3 p.m. Maine placed 12th compared to New Hampshire’s 6th at Coast-to Coast.