KEENE, N.H. – Running under ideal conditions on a relatively flat course, the Eastern Connecticut State University men's cross country team placed its five scoring runners in the top 30 percent to post a third-place finish among ten teams at the season-opening Keene State College Early Bird Invitational Saturday.
Having lost three of their top runners from a year ago, the Eastern women were fifth in a ten-team field over 2000 meters, getting top-five performances from three freshmen.
Eastern's five scoring men's runners are all sophomores. Ryan Escoda (Newtown) and John Walker (Westerly, RI) paced the men over 5,000 meters with finishes of fifth and seventh, respectively – finishing five seconds apart – with Tyler Wright (Westport) 16th, Jorich Swift (Mansfield) 22nd and Kyle Smith (Manchester) 35th. Wright and Smith are running cross country for the first year after competing in track & field as freshmen.
In a field of 110 runners, senior Maggie Dulak (Northford) scored in 16th place, freshmen Keara Fontaine (North Kingstown, RI) and Kailey Schmarr (Southington) 18th and 26th, respectively, senior Rachel Osak (Portland) 29th and freshman Emma Bournival (Kent) 34th. Eastern's top four runners all crossed the line within 20 seconds of each other.
Springfield College won both the men's and women's competition, each by two points over Fitchburg State University and Mount Holyoke College, respectively.
Eastern competes in the Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational Sept. 21.