Seniors Lead The Charge For Cross Country

Ryan Jones, Sports Editor

Coming off a strong showing in the Northeast Conference Championship, Central Connecticut cross country was back chasing personal bests at the NCAA Northeast Regionals in New York this weekend.

Both sides compiled personal bests on the day, as seniors Roberto Piotto ad Megan Brawner led the charge in their respective races.

Piotto has finished first among the Blue Devil men in every race this season, including a first place finish in the conference championship. He finished the men’s 10K at 30:09.0, a personal best good for 68th out of the field of 265 runners.

Elias Field, a freshman runner for CCSU, finished 58 seconds after Piotto to grab the 120th spot in the race. Field has put together a strong rookie campaign for the Blue Devils, winning NEC Rookie of the Year after being the first rookie to cross the finish line in the championship.

After finishing in the top 14 in the championship, fellow freshman Eddie Nicholas finished third for CCSU in the 10K with a time of 31:14.0.

“Eddie and Elias have done a good job racing with each other,” head coach Eric Blake said.  “Same can be said for Robbie and Yankarlos. They know they can race with each other so when the race gets tough they have the confidence that they can run with their teammate.”

Wagner beat out Central for best NEC school score for the men’s. The Seahawks took the first place finish from the men’s in the championship by a narrow seven points.

Other than Piotto, senior Richard Grudzwick and sophomore Robert Moore also finished with personal bests in the 10K.

After taking home the NEC Championship in a landslide 33 point victory, the women’s side put together five personal best times in the NCAA Tournament race.

The women again led the NEC in the race. Their 24th place finish was the best out of the three schools representing the conference.

Familiar names finished among the top for the Blue Devils in the women’s 6K.

Brawner was first across the finish line with a time of 20:57.0, besting her previous personal best by more than three seconds.

Following behind Brawner was her running partner and NEC Championship first place finisher Angie Rafter. Rafter trailed Brawner by less than a second. The two’s familiarity has helped them become the regular top finishers for the Blue Devils. Either Brawner or Rafter have been the first runner in blue to cross the finish line in every race so far this season. The duo finished 68th and 71st in the 6K.

Sophomore Ashley Dana grabbed a top 10 finish in the championships and put together another strong showing in the Northeast Regionals. She finished third for the Blue Devils with a personal best time of 21:46.9.

Coach Blake said he was “very impressed with Ashley and Brooke” in the 6K and adds that “our future looks good.”

CCSU finished the women’s 6K with five runners grabbing personal bests. The team finished 24th among the 37 teams competing.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will be heading back to New York this weekend this weekend. CCSU will be running in its final race of the season as they lace up or the IC4A/ECAC Championships in the Bronx.