Men’s cross country freshman impressive in first collegiate race

Sam Carella

Beginning its fall campaign Sept. 17, the men’s cross country team raced in the Haverford Invitational against Haverford and Swarthmore. Although it is not a crucial part of the season, the Haverford Invitational acts as a meter with which men’s head coach Marcus O’Sullivan can gauge the progress of his runners, especially the young and inexperienced freshmen.The race was close throughout the first mile, with only 15 seconds separating the first from the twentieth runner at the one mile mark. Over the course of the four-mile race Wildcats freshman Bobby Curtis and sophomore Milos Mitric ran away from the field, increasing their lead slightly with every stride. Mitric was able to gain a lead on Curtis during the third mile, but the freshman regained the lead just before the third-mile mark. Curtis held the lead to finish in a time of 19:33, leaving the rest of the field eating his dust with Mitric, the second place finisher, 12 seconds behind. The next ‘Cat to cross the line was freshman Kippy Keino, running unattached, in 20:15 for fifth place. Five seconds behind him was senior Jason Jabaut who finished seventh, with Marc Pelerin close behind in eighth place. Another one of ‘Nova’s star freshmen, David Van Orsdale, also running unattached, crossed the finish line in 20:35 for 11th place. Senior Mike Botti and sophomore Craig Segal finished 13th and 17th, respectively. They both made good showings, covering the course in 20:54 and 21:14.Curtis was happy with his performance, calling it a “controlled effort.” “I felt fine,” Curtis said. “It was a nice indicator of fitness and shows that my training has been going well. I’m racing well early and hope to see that translate into faster times at the end of the season when they are needed most.”The team’s coaches seemed to be satisfied with the performances of their runners as well. O’Sullivan summed up his feelings in one word: “optimistic.” “The freshmen all took this opportunity to shine and really stepped it up,” O’Sullivan said. “I am optimistic about the races still to come.” “Today’s race really gave us an idea of the younger runners’ place on the team,” assistant coach Scott Tantino said. “It was great to see them perform well, and it gave them a chance to step into the limelight for a little while as some of the older, more experienced runners watched. I was also excited to see Milos healthy and performing closer to his potential than last year.”Look for impressive perfomances from the Wildcat’s in their next race on Sept. 26. The ‘Cats will travel to North Carolina for the Great American Cross Country Race.