The Sacred Heart women's cross country team captured both the team and individual titles at the 34th Annual Father Leeber S.J. Invitational at Fairfield University Saturday afternoon. Senior Kimberly DeLoreto (Hillsdale, NJ) won the 2010 race to pace the Pioneers. The SHU men came home in second in a closely contested field.
The Fairfield Invitational was the scene of DeLoreto's first-ever collegiate victory one year ago as the senior duplicates the feat on Saturday in leading the Pioneers to their seventh-straight victory at the event. This is the senior runner's third career victory and eighth career top-five finish, as well as her second top-five finish in as many races this year. She took fourth in the season opener at Central Connecticut State.
The Pioneers posted their 12th win in the last 14 years running the event as five runners finished inside the top-10 on Saturday. DeLoreto lead the charge clocking in at 18:29.06, 35 seconds ahead of the next closest finisher.
"This was a very encouraging result for the women," said Head Coach Christian Morrison. "I think we can and will run much better this season, but you could see the improvement from our season opening meet to this one. Marist posed a significant challenge for us, and while it was a nail biter all the way, our top five really asserted themselves over the last mile of the race."
Sophomore's Megan Papp (Niantic, CT) and Alyssa Selmquist (Northford, CT) took fourth and sixth in the race, crossing the tape in 19:39.32 and 19:44.18, respectively. Junior Brittany Llobell (West Sayville, NY) finishd eight overall with a time of 19:50.73 and freshman Brittany Lane (Greenwich, NY) rounded out the SHU top-five in 10th place with a time of 20:01.40. This was Papp's first career top-five finish, as well as Lane's first career top-ten finish and Selmquist's and Llobell's second top-ten.
Capping the Pioneer top-seven finishers was junior Johana Acosta (Hartford, CT) in 15th finishing in 20:14.76 and freshman Brianna Castrogivanni (Commack, NY) in 22nd in 20:26.33.
On the men's side, the Pioneers came up just short of the team title finishing second to host Fairfield. The Pioneers totalled 45 team points while the Stags took the title with a team score of 32 points.
"The men ran a solid race today, and I'm happy with how the group is progressing," said Morrison. "A couple of our better guys had off days, but when this group puts it all together, we're going to be a very good team."
Senior Daniel Koehler (Red Hook, NY) was the Pioneers top runner finishing fourth overall with a time of 27:12.10 for his first career top-five finish. The Pioneers locked up the sixth through eighth slots, occupied by junior Jeffrey Lusignan (East Montpelier, VT), grad student Brendan Rickert (Danbury, CT) and junior Richard Marcello (Foster, RI). Lusignan finished in the top ten for the first time in his career, while Marcello did so for the fourth time and Rickert the third time in their careers.
Lusignan clocked in at 27:18.45 with Rickert on his heels in 27:23.04 and Marcello coming in at 27:24.15. SHU senior Stephen Benoit (Weathersfield, CT) clocked in at 28:07.46 to earn a 20th place finish.
Rounding out the SHU top-seven was senior James Curran (Hazlet, NJ) in 34th (29:07.33) and senior Andrew Houghtalan (West Charlton, NY) in 36th (29:12.58).