Gannon cross country teams flourish in Division II/III Challenge

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The Gannon University men’s and women’s cross country teams participated in the Division II/III Challenge in Kutztown Saturday and finished seventh and eighth, respectively.
A total of 13 teams competed in both the men’s and women’s portions of the event.
The men competed in an 8K race and had two top-11 finishers in Joseph Westrick, who placed fourth, and Ryan Garich, who placed 11th.
This impressive performance by these two improved on their already impressive start to the season as the duo finished second and third at the Doug Watts Invitational, held Sept. 7 in Edinboro.
All top-seven finishers finished within 10 seconds of each other.
Westrick, who finished in 25 minutes, 57.1 seconds to wind up fourth, was less than three seconds from second and under seven seconds from first place.
Lucas Taxter of Stonehill won the race with a time of 25:50.5, about four seconds in front of Malone’s Lucas Clark.
Westrick has finished in the top five in eight of his past 10 collegiate races.
His only two finishes that came outside the top five were 19th out of 305 runners at the nationals preview and 81st at the NCAA Championships last season.
Garich finished in 26:23.1. Rounding out Gannon’s top nine finishers were Jon Uhl, who placed 66th with a time of 28:07.2, Caleb Mandel (70th, 28:22.3), Matt Queiroz (85th, 28:55.5), Seth Dietrich (103rd, 29:47.8), Alex Chelton (107th, 30:05.6), Jeremiah Vezza (118th, 31:32.5) and Brett Whitty (121st, 32:04.3).
In the women’s 6K race, Meredith Morse was Gannon’s top finisher, as she wound up in 30th place with a time of 24:45.3.
Sarah Fiorello came in 40th for Gannon with a time of 25:01.8, followed by Cait O’Rourke (51st, 25:17.4), Alena Wisniewski (57th, 25:24.6), Cameron Perry (69th, 25:45.5), Kayla Giambrone (76th, 26:01.0), Emma Steele (84th, 26:19.9), Allie Domer (97th, 26:49.1), Maria Lohmann (107th, 27:14.7), Hannah Lillie (113th, 27:22.3) and Ashlynn Uzl (117th, 27:30.1)
Malone’s Hannah Thompson won the women’s event, which featured a field of 159 runners, with a time of 22:25.1 and Lock Haven’s Laurel Moyer was second in 22:43.2.
Collectively all Gannon scorers were within 40 spots and finished within one minute of each other.
Both the Knights’ men’s and women’s teams look to finish strong in the stretch of three races within the first three weeks of the season as they travel to the Lock Haven Invitational Saturday.
This will be the first time the Knights competed at the Lock Haven event since 2009.
That year, the women placed fourth among nine teams and the men wound up eighth in a nine-team field.

NICHOLAS POUCH
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