Cross Country Posts Dual Team Victories at Westmoreland

On Saturday, September 10, the Frostburg State University men’s and women’s cross country teams both won commanding team victories at the 2016 Westmoreland Invitational.

The men’s team was lead by sophomore Robert Romano, who finished first overall at the meet for the second year in a row. Romano posted a time of 17:16 and was followed closely by FSU senior Xavier Alvarez, who took the overall second place finish in the race with a time of 17:54.

Bobcat runners Timothy Wolodkin, Lorenzo Wilson, Tom Burklow, and Matthew Whitley also finished inside the top-10, taking fifth, sixth, seventh, and tenth place, respectively. The men’s team won the team title in dominant fashion, finishing a startling 47 points ahead of the second-place team.

On the women’s side, the Bobcats were led by freshman Laurie Gotte and junior Faith Thackston, who finished in second and third place overall, with times of 22:07 and 22:47, respectively. The women’s team, which also saw runners Michala Garrison, Jayla Jones and Sarah McCurry finish in the overall top-10, won the meet 29 points ahead of the second place team.

Cross Country Coach Dale Luy was impressed with both teams’ performances, especially for a meet held in bad weather. In a statement to The Bottom Line, Luy said that, “Our coaching staff continues to be impressed with the workmanlike approach this team as a collective group has been bringing to practice and that approach is clearly showing up in the individual and team performances.” Luy went on to add that he thought the Westmoreland meet was a good opportunity for many of the team’s new runners to acclimate to collegiate competition.

The Bottom Line also had the opportunity to speak with Romano and Gotte about the meet and their approach to the competition. Speaking about the emotions surrounding such a decisive team win for the women, Gotte commented, “I could not be more proud of how well our whole team did. When I found out how close we all were in placing, I was speechless. I am excited for what momentum this win will give to the team for the weeks to come.”

Romano, who set the Westmoreland course record last season, described his strategy during Saturday’s competition, explaining, “My strategy was to get up to front fast and hold the lead. The start was crucial. Getting into a good position from at the start was very beneficial. Since it was very humid, I knew that the race was going to be a race for position rather than a race against time.”

Romano’s first overall individual finish also earned him a series of additional honors, as he was named Capital Athletic Conference Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week, and Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III South Runner of the Week. Luy noted, “Robbie has talent and he works to develop that talent. He thinks about his race plan and sets goals. A coach cannot ask for more from a runner.”

Both Bobcat cross country teams followed up their success at Westmoreland with another pair of team meet victories on Saturday, September 17 at the 2016 Penn State Greater Allegheny Invitational.  The men’s team was lead by Alvarez, who finished the 8k race third overall in a time of 28:03. Gotte lead the women’s team for the second weekend in a row, capturing third place in her race in a time of 22:20.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams have now begun their season with impressive momentum and will attempt to build upon their dominant team performances  as their season continues.

The next competition for both teams will be in two weeks when FSU will host the 2016 Bobcat Invitational.  Frostburg’s home meet will be held on October 1 at 10:30 a.m. at the nearby Maplehurst Country Club.

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