Redhawk Lady Harriers Take 8th Place in AMCC Cross Country Championships
In a cold rain on Saturday (10/27) on a grassy running course near host Hilbert College in greater Buffalo, the La Roche College Lady Redhawk Harriers ran strongly to finish in 8th place in the 10-team AMCC conference. As has been the case in every meet this season, the Redhawks were paced by senior stand-out Tara Renninger, who out-ran 60 per cent of the field to finish in 26th position. Renninger ran an even pace each mile to complete the 6,000 meter (3.7 mile) course in a fast time of 28 minutes and 44 seconds. This was Renninger's final race of her distinguished La Roche running career, and she completed her cross country career in excellent form. Coach Josh Forrest noted that she will be missed next year, not only for her running talents but also for her team leadership and for the extensive and helpful advice she has given to the younger team members (as well as to the coach, who is in his first year). Freshman Beatrice Hand, a nursing major, in her best race of the season, put on a strong performance to over-take several competitors in the final mile, finishing second for the team and 30th overall in an impressive time of 30:37. She was followed 22 seconds later by the Redhawk's third finisher, junior Amy Leavengood, who displayed toughness and consistent speed in grabbing 35th place in a time of 30:59. La Roche's fourth finisher was Melissa Palmieri, formerly a member of the La Roche volleyball team who transferred to cross country in mid-season and has been improving ever since. She finished in 40th position overall in a solid time of 32:07. The team's fifth finisher was Anselyn Motcho, who had stayed up until 3:00a.m. the previous night working on an academic project – and had hardly any time to train in the previous 2 weeks due to scholarly demands -- but nonetheless managed to complete the course in 58th place in a respectable time of 41:00. Forrest was very pleased that the women's team finished out their 2007 season in a competitive overall placing within the AMCC conference. He commented that this 'not only represents significant progress' for the team as a whole this year, but also bodes well for the 2008 season. He pointed out that this was the first college-level cross country season for Hand, Leavengood and Palmieri, and that they are well-positioned to form the corps of an even more competitive women's team in 2008. Redhawk Men 10th in AMCC Cross Country Championships The La Roche College men's cross country, led by junior Amir Richardson, completed its 2007 season with a 10th place finish in the AMCC Conference Championship held Saturday (10/27) and hosted by Hilbert College in Hamburg (near Buffalo), N.Y. The race began with a dramatic flourish, as Richardson charged toward the front and was running with the leaders until the first hill, but with the ground muddy and slippery from the hard rain that had fallen, Richardson's foot came out of his shoe and he lost several minutes retrieving and re-lacing the shoe and, having been thrown off stride, was unable to regain the strikingly fast cadence with which he had started the race. Nonetheless, he was the Redhawk's first finisher, completing the 8,000 meter (five-mile) course in a relatively impressive time of 37:57 to secure 42nd place overall. Redhawk Cross Country Coach Josh Forrest exclaimed that despite the slip, Richardson showed that he has enormous potential, the coach adding that based on his dramatic improvements through the course of this season, he expects 'highly competitive performances' out of Richardson by the 2008 cross country season. The second team finisher for the Redhawk men was Phil Avoilo, a first-time cross country team member with a highly athletic background who rose to the occasion to run an even pace over the five mile course in a time of 41:42 to finish in 53rd place overall. The third Redhawk finisher was SaQuane Milton, a freshman with a high school background in sprinting who has shown good running form throughout the 2007 cross country season while improving his five-mile personal best time to 43:28 in this race to finish in 55th place. Ricardo Ricketts, originally from Jamaica, was the fourth man for La Roche, completing the course in a solid time of 47:30 to obtain the 57th spot. Nick Mora, a former bodybuilder, displayed his all-round athleticism and toughness by finishing the course in a solid 49:06, thereby becoming the fifth finisher for La Roche. Rounding out the La Roche finishers was sixth man Miguel Ayaga, a former soccer player from Equatorial Guinea and Spain, who gritted out the five miles in a time of 51:05 for 59th place. In a slight controversy, La Roche runner Kelbi Berg was instructed by an unidentified young man who was posing as a race official to take an alternative route during the final mile of the course. Race officials ruled that Berg's course change was unintentional, but nonetheless it was necessary to disqualify him. Coach Forrest nonetheless praised Berg's effort and thanked all of the one-time runners – Avoilo, Ricketts, Mora, Ayaga, and Berg – for participating and for providing La Roche with a full men's team. He then paid particular tribute to Richardson and Milton, who have displayed tenacity and time improvements throughout the 2007 cross country season.