UNH Cross Country kicked off the 2019 season last Saturday hosting a tri-meet against Providence and Holy Cross. Both the men’s and women’s teams placed second in their respective meets and started their seasons on a good note. The highlights included junior Elisabeth Danis taking fourth overall in her first meet after transferring from Alabama and senior Nicolas Sevilla-Connelly taking second overall in the men’s race.  

The women’s race went off first and saw Holy Cross win 36-44-45. The ‘Cats managed to edge Providence by one point, with the race coming down to the seventh runner. The main story of this meet was Danis placing first for the team and in the top five overall in her UNH debut. 

Women’s Head Coach Robert Hoppler was happy with Danis’ performance saying, “she’s waited a long time to run that race. She transferred back to UNH and has sat out for an entire year. So that was her first race for UNH after having trained with us and been on campus for 12 months. It was great to see her out there, great to see her competing.”  

Leading the pack was Danis at fourth place, the New Hampshire native finished with a time of 18:35.64. Juniors Michaella Conery and Sydney Rice followed up next finishing eighth and ninth respectively with times Cayla Barretto and sophomore Nicole Yeomans coming in at 11th and 12th overall with times of 19:02.39 and 19:09.49 respectively. Sophomore Jennika Mannesto finished in 14th place with a time of 19:30.31 and senior Morgan Sansing rounded out the scoring runners for the ‘Cats finishing 16th overall with a time of 19:36.58.  

Providence finished with runners coming in at first and second, they were up front for the entire race. Holy Cross would get third place but also had runners come in at five, six and seven which really helped them in securing a win. According to Danis, the Wildcats success came from having groups go out together.  

“The group mentality was one of the biggest things we were focusing on today. It was really about working together and working as a team to see where everyone was at,” she said after the race.  

Coach Hoppler was pleased with how the team opened the season but assured that the team is not going to rest on their laurels now. “With the people that we ran I thought we executed our race plan well, but we do have work to do to be where we want to be.” 

The next meet will be at the University of Maine on September 13 where they will go against the Black Bears. 

In the men’s race the pack mentality that helped the women’s team take second was very prevalent for both UNH and Providence. Providence won the meet with UNH coming in second and Holy Cross taking third place. The score was 19-44-85. Providence took first overall after Providence sophomore Marcelo Rocha beat out senior Sevilla-Connelly in a race on the track at the end of the race.  

“I felt my legs burning and I knew the guy behind me, he was quick. I knew he had some force left. I tried to throw on a surge to shake him down a little bit, but it was definitely a tough finish,” Sevilla-Connelly said following the race.  

Sevilla-Connelly led the Wildcats with a huge second place finish setting a new personal record with a time of 15:06.72. Providence would sweep the next nine spots with runners finishing from third to 11th. Since only the top seven runners per team can place, the last three of that pack did not score for Providence. UNH would have their next six runners come in consecutively taking places 12 through 17. Junior James Wilkes finished 12th overall with a time of 15:49.62, first-year Forest Mackenzie came in 13th at 15:53.20, junior Aidan Sullivan took 14th with a time of 15:56.46, freshman William Curran was in 15th running 15:58.08, junior Samuel Lanternier got 16th running 16:01.88. Senior Nicholas Brown rounded out the Wildcats with a 17th place finish and a time of 16:02.41. 

Providence spent most of the race in the lead. After the third lap around the woods Sevilla-Connelly was sitting comfortably in fifth but then on the start of the final lap around jumped out to first. The reason for his large kick is kind of unusual. 

“I passed like one or two of them and then we were taking that left turn around the tree and I grabbed the tree and slingshot myself around” he said while showing a small cut on his wrist. 

Head Coach Jim Boulanger felt good about how the team ran while taking note about the conditions of the course making the race a little slower. He said he was very happy with “how they acted, how they raced.” He wanted the team to run 

“It was a very good start,” he said, “it’s going to be really good.” He was very optimistic about the team improving more over the season as the team gets in more workouts. He also noted how the schedule has several 8k races coming up.  

“When you get past that 5k, the race gets really long.” “It will be fun, it’ll be interesting to see what happens,” he said. 

The men’s team will also continue their season at the University of Maine September 13 and will try to build off of a strong first race.