LEOMINSTER, Mass. - The Worcester State men's cross country team ran a very competitive race at the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Championships Saturday morning to finish fourth overall in a tight field.
Leading the Lancers with an exceptional race was junior Devin Luce (Milford, Mass.) who finish fifth overall in his best cross country race ever as a collegian. Head coach Al Halper commented, "having a breakthrough race at Western New England a couple of weeks ago, Devin improved greatly again this week. I knew he was ready for more."
Coach Halper continued, "Devin went with the leaders from the start and moved up into the top five in the later stages of the race. He ran 26:34. His previous best on this course was 30:16. Today was his day to shine."
Behind Luce was a tight group of runners completing the top seven all with significantly improved times for the course and for the year. Sophomore Christian Vera (Worcester, Mass.) finished in 18th place (27:29), followed by junior Patrick Scheeler (Wakefield, Mass.) in 22nd place (28:01), and then four places in a row with sophomores Michael Ricci (Peabody, Mass.) in 26th, Joseph Grider (Hopedale, Mass.) in 27th, John Newcomb (Lowell, Mass.) in 28th, and senior Will Whearty (Wapole, Mass.) in 29th to close out the top seven.
"As usual we ran a tight pack but this week Devin broke away from the pack," said Halper. "The pack came on strong in the second half of the race after a conservative start. We needed to be just a little more aggressive with the start, but I am pleased with the team progress this year and especially today."
"We got great races and many PRs from almost everyone, though we did have a couple of "off" performances that could have made a difference in the final outcome had everyone had their best day," said Halper.
"I am excited for the final season race in two weeks," concluded Halper. "These guys work as hard as any group I have had at Worcester State. They have a great attitude and want to achieve more each week. We will regroup for the qualifier and go for one more giant step to the next level."
The Lancers will run at the NCAA Regional Qualifier to be held at Stanley Park in Westfield, Mass. on Nov. 12