‘Cats debut at cross-country meet in Haverford

Leslie Combs

The men’s cross country team traveled down the Main Line Sept. 6 to begin its 2002 campaign against several other area schools.

Last Friday Villanova joined Widener and LaSalle Universities at the starting line on Haverford College’s 8K course.

Widener captured the meet with 22 points after its top five runners finished in the top seven. Senior Michael Enders narrowly took the individual title in 21.52.1, outrunning LaSalle junior Ben Turnbull, who crossed the line in 21.52.8. LaSalle came back to finish second with 38 points, while ‘Nova brought up the rear with 95 points for the day.

Running in a pack, the Wildcats pulled together to finish four of its top five runners in the top 20, with the fifth taking 21st place.

Senior Andrew Blaich led ‘Nova, taking 17th in 23.57.1, with sophomore Nathan Miller coming in moments later to take 18th in 23.57.5. Joining his teammates just moments later at the finish line in 19th was junior Matt Botti in 23.57.8.

Running in his first collegiate race, freshman Greg Grimes crossed the line in 23.58.1 in 20th, while senior Tim Styler rounded out the scoring for the ‘Cats with his 21st place run in 23.58.

Head coach Marcus O’Sullivan did not run his varsity squad for the inaugural meet of the fall season, but instead used the day to give other runners experience and determine where the men are in their training at this point in the season.

The men officially kick off the 2002 season, with the traditional Haverford Invitational Sept. 20 on the same course, where they will run their full squad.

The men are both eager to start the season and confident that this is the year Villanova will again join the nation’s elite distance running pack.

This is largely due to the fact that its top runners are returning from last season, along with the addition of several promising freshmen.

“This is probably the strongest year in a while,” O’Sullivan said. “There is a kind of anxiety building, but it is a healthy one.”

With no major injuries or other obstacles stopping the ‘Cats, there is little in their way on their path to victory in 2002.