MANCHESTER – The Eastern Connecticut State University women's cross country team is a year older, and very much better than the one that opened last season with a six-place finish in a field of nine at the Trinity College Invitational at Wickham Park.
Last year, Eastern's fifth scorer placed 53rd. With this year's team a virtual mirror image of last year's, the Warriors placed all five of their scoring runners among the top 30 in a field of 88 en route to an encouraging third-place finish in a field of eight teams.
Running without two of their top five, the Eastern men still managed to finish fourth as a team in a field of eight. With 110 points, the Warriors totaled eight less points than fifth-place Johnson & Wales University.
Women place three among top 20
Senior co-captain Mariah McPhee (Bristol) averaged a 6:45 mile over the 3.1 mile course and was followed closely by junior Kassandrah Banks (Wethersfield), with sophomore Samantha McKosky (Deep River) giving Eastern three finishers among the top 20.
With junor Amanda Terenzi (Coventry, RI) and freshman Rachel Osak (Portland) also slipping into the top 30, the Warriors totaled only 87 points for a 23-point margin over fourth-place University of New Haven.
McPhee and McKosky ran 1-2 all of last year, but Banks made a big leap in this year's first race after spending most of 2015 on the fringe of the team's top seven. McPhee was tenth overall Saturday, Banks 12th and McKosky 20th. Banks was 84th at this meet last year, McPhee 27th.
Saturday, Banks averaged a 6:56 mile and was timed in 21:32, with McKosky – last year's Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year – averaging 7:16 and a total time of 22:32.
Terenzi (22:34) was fourth for Eastern (22nd overall) and in her first collegiate race, Osak was 30th overall in a time of 23:03.
Goslin leads way for men's team
Junior Cooper Goslin (South Windsor), who mostly ran 2-3 a year ago, moved up 25 spots from a year ago in this race as Eastern placed all five of its scorers among the top 37. Goslin averaged a 5:46 mile over the 3.1 mile layout and was 14th overall in a time of 17:55. Junior Noah Hallisey (East Lyme) and senior captain Chris Armstrong (Bolton) placed 19-20, respectively, and were separated by only eight seconds. Hallisey averaged a 5:50 mile and was 19th overall (18:07) and Armstrong averaged a 5:53 for a time of 18:15. Hallisey was 43rd overall last year while Armstrong did not compete.
Eastern's No. 4 runner, senior Mike Underwood (Farmington) showed a 22-place improvement. He was 33rd overall in a time of 19:19. First-year junior cross country runner Max Armstrong (Ledyard) was only 16 seconds and four spots behind Underwood.
Eastern competes at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday at 11 a.m.