CHICOPEE, Mass. – Salve Regina placed all five scorers in the top 10 to win the team championship at the Elms Blazer Cross Country Classic on Saturday.
The win marks the first invitational championship for the men's cross country team since the program was reconstituted in 2005, and the first men's cross country win of any kind for Salve Regina since Oct. 31, 1987.
Senior Scott Brewer (Wilbraham, Mass.) led the charge for the Seahawks, finishing second overall as one of only two men in the field to break 30:00 on the challenging, technical 8,000-meter course at Chicopee Memorial State Park.
The other Seahawk scorers followed in short order, with freshman Aidan Lynch (Little Silver, N.J.) placing third, senior Andrew Sardelli (Hope Valley, R.I.) finishing fifth, senior Dave Napierkowski (Cheshire, Conn.) running seventh, and junior Dan Donnelly (Portsmouth, R.I.) placing ninth. Sophomores Brett Jutras (East Bridgewater, Mass.) and Chandler Da Cruz (Middletown, R.I.) ran at No. 6 and No. 7.
"I'm proud of the guys. We've been aiming for an invitational win for a long time. Our execution today was right on the mark. While a difficult course meant slower-than-normal times, we put ourselves in a position to win, and we finished the job," said head coach Rob McGuinness. "It is especially telling that four of our five scorers are captains. Scott, Andrew, Dave and Dan were determined to make this happen. They earned this result."
Salve Regina was in prime position after the first of two 4,000-meter loops around the park, with Sardelli and Brewer trailing frontrunners Joshua Johnson of Johnson & Wales University and Mike Flowers of Mount Ida College. A raw score tallied at the halfway point showed Salve Regina in the lead with 27 points.
Brewer overtook Flowers and Sardelli on the second loop to move into second place, where he would finish at 29:59. Johnson won the individual title, crossing the finish line at 29:16.
Salve Regina won the team title with a score of 26. Johnson & Wales was second with 76, with Western New England University third at 79. There were eight complete teams in the meet.
The victory marks the first time in program history that both the men's and women's teams have won an invitational race on the same day. The women captured their team title with a score of 27.
Prior to Saturday's triumph, the last recorded win for the men's team was a dual meet victory over the Wentworth Institute of Technology on Oct. 31, 1987. That day, the Seahawks topped the Leopards, 25-30, in an 8,000-meter race on Salve Regina's former home course at St. George's School in Middletown, R.I. Kris Pedisich and Jon Piers led the team with a 1-2 finish.
Salve Regina results, 8K:
2. Scott Brewer – 29:59
3. Aidan Lynch – 30:09
5. Andrew Sardelli – 30:21
7. Dave Napierkowski – 31:19
9. Dan Donnelly – 31:34
15. Brett Jutras – 32:42
17. Chandler Da Cruz – 32:50
18. Riley Rancourt – 32:57
21. Brendan Kelly – 33:35
25. Neil Sheehan – 34:39
41. John Lutz – 39:49
48. Jack Farrell – 41:17
Salve Regina returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 30 at the Tri-State Invitational in Lincoln, R.I.