LINCOLN, R.I. – Confusion at the finish line marred a winning effort for the Salve Regina women's cross country team at the Tri-State Invitational hosted by the Community College of Rhode Island on Saturday. The results show the Seahawks on top in team scoring, but not with the personnel whom those watching the meet would have anticipated.
The Seahawks were in control after the first loop of the trails on the CCRI campus, with senior Alex Demeo (Burlington, Mass.) and junior Olivia Owen (Weymouth, Mass.) splitting the first mile at 6:19 and running first and second overall. Freshman Christina Moran (Oceanside, N.Y.), sophomore Sydney DeCesare (Johnston, R.I.) and freshman Cate Norton (Newtown, Conn.) all held positions inside the top 10 as they started their second loop.
The scene looked much the same a mile later, with Demeo and Owen running second and third overall. Eastern Connecticut senior Samantha McKosky had passed Demeo during the middle mile to take the outright lead. Moran, DeCesare and Norton maintained their positions, with a pack of four Eastern Connecticut runners in pursuit. The top 10, at the time, also included the lead runners from Johnson & Wales and Framingham State.
The situation was unchanged when runners emerged from the woods at the end of the final loop. McCosky had a lock on first place, with Demeo and Owen still running second and third. Moran, DeCesare and Norton were in the top 10. The four Eastern Connecticut runners were not far behind, in consecutive positions. A team score at that moment would have projected Salve Regina to finish at about 30 points, with Eastern Connecticut in the low 50s.
The looping course on the CCRI campus was designed to include closing circuit of the soccer fields that routed runners into the finishing chute. Runners were to ascend a hill at the back of the field, run along a ridge and drop back down for the final lap. Confusion ensued when one opposing runner turned at the base of the hill and ran directly toward the chute. Others soon followed, and before long, much of the field had been directed into the finishing chute.
The scorers from both Salve Regina and Eastern Connecticut were caught in the melee, with the respective packs crossing the finish line, waiting upward of a minute, and then being redirected back on to the course to complete the final loop of the field, all as the clock continued to run and other finishers crossed the line.
The individual results are listed in the Track & Field Results Reporting System, but they are not being republished here. The team scores show Salve Regina winning the meet with a score of 29, with Johnson & Wales second at 47 and Eastern Connecticut third at 60.
Salve Regina returns to action in the Connecticut College Invitational on October 13.