Cross Country runs into sixth place

The Emerson mens and womens cross country teams looked to finish the season strong at the Great Northeast Atlantic Conference (GNAC) championship meet this past weekend.

Though the course at Saint Joseph’s College was new and unfamiliar, the teams worked as hard as they could to end the season on a high note.

This past Saturday, the men finished in sixth place out of the eight teams competing. Emerson ended with 109 points, while the GNAC team champion, Norwich University, came in with 42 points.

A big positive from the men’s side on Saturday was the strong individual performance of freshmen Joel Kropinski, who finished in fourth place with a time of 28:59 and was named as an All-Conference runner for the 2007 season.

The women finished in the middle of the field, in sixth place out of eleven teams. The Lions ended with a total of 138 points, while the champion, St. Joseph’s, earned 67 points.

Though her team finished sixth overall in the championship, senior captain Julie Walden believed the Lions had a lot to overcome, especially with the cold, rainy weather.

“It was hard because it was a small team this year,” the marketing communication major said. “It was cold and rainy. We liked the course, but it was unfamiliar.”

Finishes in the 2007 season for the men’s team were average. The strongest performance came at the meet at Rivier College in September, where they finished fourth out of eleven teams. Since that time, the Lions also finished in eighth place out of ten teams at the Emmanuel College Invitational.

Though the rankings were not as high as the team may have hoped, the men’s team developed good chemistry and work ethic this season. Matt Sell, a junior from Berklee College of Music who competes for Emerson, said the team grew closer as the season wore on.

“The team really came together,” the music business major said. “You can’t say that we didn’t have chemistry. We trained really hard together, had good work ethic and pushed each other.”

On the women’s side, the cross country team had a similar season. After an impressive first place finish at the Daniel Webster Invitational to begin the year, the Lions were unable to finish strong again.

The team finished in fifth place at Rivier College and in seventh place at the Emmanuel College Invitational, both out of 11 teams.

The title meet was also the final race for six senior runners who will be graduating in the spring. Walden said the race marked the end of a chapter in her life.

“It was really emotional, because I ran eight years of cross country,” Walden said. “I wish it hadn’t been on such an unfamiliar course. I’ll be doing marathon training in the future, but it’s different. The whole competitive thing is over.”