Cross country progresses as home meet nears

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

For many runners on the men’s and women’s cross country teams who had not raced recently due to injury, the New England Championships in Boston last Saturday offered an opportunity to get back on the course. Even without most of the top Bears racing, the men’s team captured 23rd place of 47 teams, and the women collectively earned 21st place.

The first to cross the finish line on the men’s side was Michael Stumpf ’13, who finished the 8-kilometer course in 25 minutes, 25 seconds. Christian Escareno ’11 followed him in 25:39. Peter Hix ’14 had a notable performance as he dropped almost 30 seconds from his September time on the same course.

Men’s Head Coach Tim Springfield said he thought the team “performed pretty well.” For Escareno, who was a NCAA Championships qualifier last year, this was his first race coming back from an injury.

“I don’t feel a hundred percent healthy, but since this is my last year of running competitively in the NCAA, I’ve been training as if I had nothing to lose,” Escareno wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

Though Escareno has returned, he wrote that “to be able to run fast, it takes months of preparation and patience.”

But Escareno does not have months to get back in shape — there are only five weeks remaining in the season.

On the women’s side, Melanie Fineman ’14 finished first for Brown in 19:07, with Caitlin Stone ’12 finishing next in 19:22. Rachel Baker ’12 improved her time on the course by nearly 50 seconds. “My training has been all over the place because I was sick,” Fineman said. “I felt like I worked hard, I didn’t really know what to expect.”

For the women, this meet was another chance to run a qualifying time for nationals as the season comes to a close, Fineman said.

The next challenge for the runners will be their home meet, the First Annual Rothenberg Race. The competition will be held this Friday in nearby Goddard State Park.

The course contains miles of “rugged, true cross country,” Springfield said.

The team is looking forward to hosting the race because “every member of the Brown team is racing,” Escareno said.

When asked about the competition at the meet, Springfield said he is ” most interested in (the team) performing well relative to what (they) are capable of.”

Friday’s race is the team’s last before the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships on Oct. 29 in Van Cortlandt Park in New York, N.Y.