SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Worcester State University men's cross country team continues to roll along with another strong outing this weekend at the Western New England Invitational, placing fourth overall out of 25 colleges represented as junior Devin Luce (Milford, Mass.) led the team with a 15th place finish in 27:29.
"As has been the case the entire season, the top five have run close to each other and today was no different," commented head coach Al Halper. "The Lancers had their top five in before every team except for the winning team, SUNY/Delhi. In addition, despite sitting out two of the top seven this week, the top five were only about a minute apart again this week."
"Devin Luce ran a great race today and for only the second time this season, Mike Ricci was not the team leader to the finish line," said Halper.
"Mike took out the pace with the leaders though, and stayed with the top pack for most of the race," said Halper. Michael Ricci (Peabody, Mass.) came in just behind Luce at 19th place in a time of 27:55.
"Devin overtook Mike in the final mile and ran an aggressive last mile to finish strong, with his best race of the season, and probably in his college career," applauded Halper. "His hard work and diligence is paying off. It is exciting to see that we now have several of the guys willing to push the pace."
"As others have tried to stay up with Mike, it has helped them to higher levels of success," stated Halper. "We are continuing to make some sort of breakthrough each week, including times and getting runners closer to the front pack."
Halper further noted, " If we can get our top two or three guys to continue their aggressiveness up front and have the next group continue to "pack it up" , it will put us where we want to be at the conference championships now just two weeks away."
Rounding out the top seven were sophomore Joseph Grider ( 28:33), freshman Richard Custodio (28:34), junior Patrick Scheeler ( 28:42), senior Will Whearty ( 29:15), and freshman Christian Torres (29:43).
The coach noted, "The times this week are the fastest times of the season for many of the guys. It is exactly what we want going into the championships. Next week we take off a week from racing another 8k race. Though we will do some good work and concentrate on some of the little things to fine tune ourselves, we will start to taper some for the MASCAC Championships the following week."
The Lancers will compete at the MASCAC Championships to be held on October 29, 2016. It will be held at the Doyle Conservation Area in Leominster, Mass. with Fitchburg State University as the host institution.