The UNH women’s cross country team strung together a solid performance in their victory over Maine this past Friday while the men’s team raced and came up short to their opponent.
The women collected 22 points on the day over Maine’s 39, squeezing in seven runners in the top nine places. The men had 47 points as opposed Maine’s 16.
Leading the charge for the women was individual victor Alex Giese.  The senior completed the 5-kilometer course in 18-minutes, 43-seconds.  This was six seconds ahead of second place finisher Kaitlyn Saulter from Maine.  Giese has had success on this course before having won this same race last year.
“We had a number of good performances, one was [Giese] winning the race. To come and win a race and run well that’s a very strong performance,” head coach Robert Hoppler said.  “She won this race last year as well so this has been a good race for her.”
After Giese, Julia Shorter was the next Wildcat to finish, coming in third place with a time of 18:51, followed by freshman Isobel Kelly in fifth place with 18:54.
“[Shorter] really ran a great second half of her race and plus it was one of the best cross country races she’s ever run at UNH, so certainly happy with that. [Kelly], as a freshman, is really starting to build on a nice freshman season.  She went out and set the pace early and set the tone of the race, so those three really ran very well,” Hoppler said on his team’s success.
With the New England Championships race in two weeks and with no other races before it, the ‘Cats will look to train hard in preparation for the rest of their season.  “We’re going to continue to train hard, stay healthy, stay focused,” said Hoppler on the small break in between races.
Although the Wildcat men did not win their race, they can take positives away from it. Staying together as a pack and getting more comfortable with it was something they were able to work on in their loss to Maine this past Friday in their dual meet.
Senior Timothy Kenefick was the first ‘Cat across the line after completing the 8k course in 25:50.1, placing fifth overall. Sophomore Brett Hoerner placed ninth in 26:05.1, while senior Mitchell Dutton was right on the tail of Hoerner with his time of 26:05.4, placing tenth.  Overall the ‘Cats took places five, nine 10, 12, 13, 16 and 17.
“Our goal was to go out at 5:10 or 5:15 (for the first mile) and maintain that as long as we could and then work on our last two miles of the race and we actually executed it well,” head coach Robert Boulanger said.  “Maine is a very good team, they’re number one guy is a contender in the conference and they just have seven guys in another pack and they’ve done a good job running together as a group. You look at our times and you got 42 seconds between our 1 and 5 [runners] and a minute and seventeen between our top 11 [runners] so I think we’re going in the right direction,” He said.
Like the women’s team, the men have a two-week break before the New England Championships. Boulanger’s focus will be “maintaining our mileage where we are and try to increase the intensity of our workouts.”
The next race up for both teams will be the New England Championships on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Franklin Park in Boston. After that it will be the CCSU mini meet on Oct. 21, followed by the America East Championships on Nov. 11 in Baltimore, Md.

Executive Editor