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Cross Country: Following Three-Week Layoff, Warriors Battle Heat, Large Field at Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational

Cross Country: Following Three-Week Layoff, Warriors Battle Heat, Large Field at Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational

47th Annual
Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational
at Dartmouth, MA

Eastern Conn. Men: 12th Place / 36 Teams
Eastern Conn. Women: 16th Place / 37 Teams

DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- The Eastern Connecticut State University women's and men's cross country teams put 20 days of training to use Saturday, returning to competition for their second meet of the season at the 47th Annual University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational, run on the UMD campus.

Among seven competing Little East Conference institutions, the women checked in second, ahead of host UMass Dartmouth (20th), Castleton University (24th), Southern Maine (29th), Western Connecticut (35th) and UMass Boston (36th). The men placed third among seven competing Little East schools, outrunning Rhode Island College, Castleton and UMass Boston -- which placed 21-22-23 -- and Western Connecticut (35th).

Sophomore Ryan Escoda (Newtown) led the men for the ninth consecutive race in his two-year career and was followed again by classmate John Walker (Westerly, RI). Escoda placed among the top 7 percent with an 18th-place finish in a field of 257 finishers which represented 36 men's teams. Walker placed 56th overall, scoring 55 points. Sophomore first-year cross country runner Tyler Wright (Westport) was only 18 places and 30 seconds behind Walker as the men's third finisher, with junior co-captain Maxwell Chace (Brooklyn) and sophomore Jorich Swift (Mansfield) representing the men's other scoring runners.

In their second collegiate races last year, Escoda was 77th overall in a field of 295 in a time of 27:12, with Walker 110th overall (27:43) when the Warriors placed 23rd overall in a field of 41 teams. Chace was clocked in 28:33 a year ago, Swift in 29:30, junior No. 6 runner Cameron Gonzales (Plainfield) in 29:22, and  junior No. 7 runner Brian Balkus (Ashford) in 28:55.                  

For the first time in her three-year career, junior Sylvia Lawrence (Woodstock) was Eastern's top finisher in the women's race. Her time of 20:11 placed her among the top 25 percent, 65th overall among 263 finishers in a time of 20:08. Crossing the finish line with 14 places and 13 seconds of each other were senior Samara Johnson (Lebanon), freshman Kailey Schmarr (Southington) and senior Maggie Dulak (Northford). Johnson was 85th overall, Schmarr 89th and Dulak 99th. Freshman Keara Fontaine (North Kingstown, RI) represented the women's final scoring runner.                             

When the women placed 12th among 45 teams in last year's UMass Dartmouth Invitational, Dulak was 135th overall in a field of 318 finishers in the exact same time (20:47) as this year. Lawrence and Johnson did not compete in last year's varsity race.

Eastern competes at the CCRI Tri-State Invitational Oct. 5 at 10 a.m.                  

                                                                                                    

 Eastern's Finishers   

Men's Race -- Run over 5 miles

18. Ryan Escoda 25:54; 56. John Walker 27:03; 74. Tyler Wright 27:33; 97. Maxwell Chace 28:08; 114. Jorich Swift 28:30; 123. Cameron Gonzales 28:46; 134. Brian Balkus 28:55; 173. Kyle Smith 29:51.

Women's Race -- Run over 5,000 meters

65. Sylvia Lawrence 20:08; 85. Samara Johnson 20:34; 89. Kailey Schmarr 20:38; 99. Maggie Dulak 20:47; 113. Keara Fontaine 20:55; 116. Emma Bournival 20:57; 140. Rachel Osak 21:24; 155. Nina Pasqua  21:41.