Sports

Bears finish 21st at pre-national invitational, win home meet

Mike Wyman ’18 runs personal best of 24 minutes, 19 seconds on eight-kilometer course

By
Staff Writer
Sunday, October 15, 2017

The men’s cross country team squared off against several of the nation’s top squads in the Division I Pre-National XC Invitational Saturday, held at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky.

Competing without their number one runner, recently-injured captain Matt Mahoney ’18, the Bears found themselves in the middle of the pack. Bruno amassed 566 points to finish 21st in a field of 41 teams, including eight nationally ranked programs.

Led by individual winner Rory Linkletter, No. 2 Brigham Young University dominated the competition, racking up a scant 41 points to claim the team title. BYU was beyond Bruno’s reach, but Brown handily beat Ivy League opponent Dartmouth; the Big Green sank to 38th-place overall beneath the weight of their 910-point total. The Bears also bested Yale by default, as the Bulldogs failed to finish a full squad of five scoring athletes.

In Mahoney’s absence, Mike Wyman ’18 served as standard-bearer, covering the grassy eight-kilometer course in 24 minutes, 19 seconds. This clocking, a new personal best, was good for 79th place out of 282 finishers and marked the first time that Wyman — a middle-distance specialist on the track — has spearheaded the Bears in a cross country race.

Gabe Altopp ’20, the team’s fifth finisher at last month’s Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown, was Brown’s second man across the line. Altopp squeaked into the meet’s top 100 by the skin of his teeth, running a personal-best 24:28 to score 97 points for the Bears.

Oft-injured Dan McDonald Meteer ’18 — healthy after years of debilitating setbacks — continued to capitalize on his final season by finishing third for Brown. He ran 24:40, his fastest race yet,  adding 118 points to Bruno’s total.   

Brown’s fourth and fifth men competed strongly but were not able to break their personal records. Penultimate scorer Cam Daly ’20 ran 24:44 — his second-fastest 8K — to net 126 points. Captain Martin Martinez ’18 shut the door by running 24:54, his third-fastest 8K, for 148 points.

Entering the meet, Brown was ranked fourth in the USTFCCCA New England Coaches’ Poll. But regional rival Boston University, rated 14th in the same poll, upset the Bears by finishing 18th at the invitational. This does not bode well for Bruno’s position in the forthcoming edition of the rankings, which will be released Monday.

The Bears experienced greater success closer to Providence, albeit on a somewhat smaller stage. Brown’s B-squad triumphed over an array of local teams in the Rothenberg Invitational, held at Goddard State Park in Warwick Friday.

Bruno tallied 33 points to beat second-place University of Vermont by a margin of three — an accomplishment sweetened by the fact that all of Brown’s scorers set new personal bests. It was the first time the Bears had won on their home course since 2013.

As was the case in Louisville, a middle-distance man led the charge for Brown in Warwick. 800-meter specialist Zach Lanigan ’20 from Australia bounded home third in 25:08, outpaced only by two Vermont harriers.

Tom Hale ’19 followed close on the heels of his teammate, clocking 25:12 to claim fifth.

“Lanigan’s always a force to be reckoned with,” Hale said. “Coming down the last straight we were neck-and-neck, but then he just blew by me. It was a good match.”

Three first-year athletes made up the balance of Bruno’s scoring five: David Scherrer ’21 finished sixth in 25:12, Jared Yabu ’21 took eighth in 25:18 and Ben McCoy ’21 was 11th in 25:28. “They exceeded all expectations in a really positive way,” Hale said. “You can look at the results and see that they’ve really got what it takes.”

The Bears will return to competition at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship, to be hosted Oct. 28 in the Bronx’s historic Van Cortlandt Park.

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