The Stony Brook Women’s and Men’s Cross Country teams stormed ahead for first and second place finishes, respectively, in the Stony Brook Season Opener on Saturday morning against Quinnipiac and Hartford.
Experience made all the difference for the women as they captured the top three finishes in the tri-meet. Seniors Christine Eisenberg and Elizabeth Caldwell took first and second place, while freshman Alexandria Ortega rounded out the podium with a third place time in her first collegiate race.
“We need Christine to have a great fall this year and build on the success she had this past spring,” head coach Andy Ronan said.
The race started with a standard congregated pack, but the group quickly dissipated during the opening stretch of the race. Eisenberg got out to a commanding four second lead, leaving Caldwell and others behind. She finished the four kilometer race with a time of 14:46.56.
“I wanted to have a hard effort,” Eisenberg said. “I wasn’t really too focused on what time I was going to get. I just wanted to give a solid effort for the first race.”
Freshman Chris Biondi impressed with a second place finish in the men’s 5k race. Within the last few moments of the race, Biondi kicked out of line and cut in front of another racer. He maintained his tempo and finished the race with a time of 18:49.51, six seconds out of first place.
“He just put himself in the right place,” Ronan said. “He’s a freshman, in his first race—he did well to hang in there. He’s a very good track runner and you give a track runner the chance to run downhill to the finish, he’s going to use it to his advantage.”
Unlike the women’s 4k, the men’s 5k maintained a pack for the majority of the race. It was not until the final few laps when the pack stretched out as racers jockeyed for position. The Seawolves sent out a relatively inexperienced men’s team with 10 underclassmen. Junior Steven Biondi, Chris’ brother, was Stony Brook’s lone upperclassman.
“I just wanted to see them compete,” Ronan said of the underclassmen. “I wanted them to experience running in a college meet for the first time. I just wanted to see them compete so we can build on this through the season and figure out what we need to work on.”
Up next for the Seawolves is another home meet. Both teams will participate in the Wolfie Invitational on Sept. 10. The men will run an 8 kilometer race and the women will run a 5k.