By Jesse Savin, Special to The Chronicle
It's shaping up to be a solid season for Hofstra University cross-country teams in 2011.
Head coach Pete Alfano and assistant coach Colleen Cameron have been prepping the men's and women's teams in anticipation for this Friday's Metropolitan Conference Championships meet in the Bronx. The Pride is optimistic after coming off of good performances from both squads at the Iona Meet of Champions, also in the Bronx, which took place on September 17.
Placing seventy-fourth overall, junior Daniel Rono helped lead the men's team to 517 total points and a nineteenth place finish at the meet.
Three runners on the men's team finished within the top 100 at Iona but it was Rono's individual achievement that launched the team into the top 20 of all teams attending.
The women's side did the men's team two better at Iona, finishing with 510 total points to place seventeenth overall. It was two top 100 finishes from seniors Meghan McCloskey and Brittany Rose that catapulted the squad to such a strong finish.
The team will be looking to build on those top 20 finishes this Friday at the Metropolitan Conference Championships.
With such strong finishes early in the season, seems that both squads' runners will place high enough to start building an even more impressive string of finishes for the rest of the year.
"We are definitely ready for it," said junior Cara Mattson of Friday's meet. "This will be our second race there this season and the big race setting is exciting. Our runners will be keeping each other motivated and focused throughout the race so we're expecting some fast times. Our goal is to place within the top half and I think that is something we can definitely accomplish."
Alfano, entering his fourth year as the Pride cross-country head coach, and Cameron, entering her second year as assistant head coach, are sure to be training both squads' runners to be able to do just that.
In addition to this Friday's meet in the Bronx, Hofstra cross-country will be at College Park at Penn State University on October 14 for the Penn State National, only to come back to New York two days later for the St. John's Fall Festival in Jamaica.
The season's true tests will kick off on October 29 with the CAA Cross Country Championship in Atlanta, Georgia and continue with the NCAA Division I Northeast Regional Championship on November 12 in Buffalo, the ECAC Championship on November 19 in the Bronx, and the NCCA Division I Championship on November 21 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
With such a strong start to the season, the Pride's cross-country squads will surely be looking to make a huge impact in both the CAA and NCCA Championships in 2011.