WASHINGTON - A pair of veterans led the American University men's and women's cross country teams on Friday as the Eagles opened their 2018 campaign at the Bison Open in Lewisburg, Pa.
- The meet was the team's first glance at the 2018 Patriot League Cross Country Championships, which will be hosted by Bucknell on Saturday, Oct. 27.
- Five other Patriot League teams were in attendance including Bucknell, Lafayette, Lehigh, Loyola (Md.) and Navy.
- The women opened the day with their only 4,000-meter run of the season. Senior Adriana Hooks was back in control of the Eagles' pack after leading the team all last season, placing 11th overall in 14:19.0.
- Brianna Belo, who returns this season as a graduate student, was next across the line for the red, white and blue in 16th-place (14:29.0), followed by junior Arianna Lopez in 25th (14:34.50), freshman Clare Hernandez in 35th (14:47.40) and senior Kassidy Ayres who rounded out the top-five scorers in 57th (15:15.30).
- Other finishers for the AU women include sophomore Shelbi Wuss (68th, 15:26.20), freshman Elise Hooker (71st, 15:28.30), junior Katelyn Deibler (81st, 15:44.50), junior Kaitlyn McTernan (95th, 16:00.40), and junior Emily Houghton (99th, 16:10.70).
- On the men's side, Liam Purdy stepped up to pace the pack with a 24th-place overall finish in 19:33.50 for the 6,000-meter course. Seniors Matthew Rainey (19:39.60) and Ben Doiron (19:43.30) were close behind in 28th and 31st, respectively.
- Sophomore Max Lustig (19:59.80) and junior Gerard D'Ambrosio III (20:00.10) were the final two scorers across the line in 50th and 52nd.
- Seven other Eagles highlighted the day's events, starting with freshman Aidan Caggiano in 53rd (20:03.20), junior Caleb Brown in 64th (20:18.90), freshman Michael Weidenbruch in 67th (20:20.50), freshman Miguel Dickenson in 72nd (20:26.80), sophomore John Pagliaro in 99th (21:06.50), junior Justin Dignan in 103rd (21:33.60), and junior Faolan Coogan Pluck in 116th (22:30.50).
HEAR FROM COACH GRAHAM
"The results today were about what we expected. The plan for this meet was for it to be a shock to the system on tired legs after a tough block of training. I think both the men's and women's team ran hard, but they were also running tired. We got to see what parts of the conference course are challenging, and which we will be able to take advantage of in seven weeks. We'll freshen up just a little for our race next weekend and then get right back to work! This team is working very hard right now, and there is more to come."
The Eagles will preview another postseason course on Friday, Sept. 7, with Penn State's Spiked Shoe Invitational. The course at State College will also host the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship at the end of the season.
For the latest on American University Cross Country, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_TrackXC.