JAMAICA PLAIN, Mass. - After a dominating performance at Franklin Park on Sunday afternoon, the Lesley University women's cross country team took the first ever New England Collegiate Conference Title and captured the first conference championship in the three year history of the program.
The Lady Lynx came into the fall season as the preseason favorites to win the NECC Championship and with their victory, proved just how good a team they are. Four of the top six finishers were Lesley runners and the fifth and final scoring runner crossed the finish line in 15th place overall.
Charlotte Goff (Osterville, Mass.), a five-time NECC Runner of the Week, won the race handily with a time of 20:47. She finished 44 seconds ahead of the second place finisher from Elms College.
The next two runners to finish with Heather Peng (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Jasmine Cuevas (Bristol, N.H.) who sprinted just behind the runner from Elms to clock in at 21:34 and 21:36, respectively.
Just under a minute later, Elize McKelvey (Baltimore, Ohio) came in at 22:21 as the fourth finisher for the Lynx in 6th place overall. At 24:46, Rachel Federico (Salem, Mass.) rounded out the scoring for Lesley as they took home the NECC Championship.
"The Lesley women made history today," praised Head Coach Dan Flynn. "They went from a small, unknown program three years ago, to a championship program today. We faced adversity along the way and now we know how to overcome it and eventually be successful. We have a winning formula and we look to compete with the rest of the region in the next couple of weeks. But for now we are champions."
The women earned several All-Conference awards as Goff took home Runner of the Year, Cuevas was named Rookie of the Year, and each of the top 10 finishers including Goff, Cuevas, Peng, and McKelvey earned First Team All-Conference nods.
After Lesley (28) in the standings was Newbury College (78), Elms College (100), Southern Vermont College (107), Mitchell College (116), Wheelock College (127), and Bay Path College (128).
The men's team set a goal to take third place in their race and reached that goal, edging out Southern Vermont College in the team scoring. It was the first time in the program's history that a men's cross country team has earned a team score at a conference championship.
Daniel Webster College (39) took home the conference title, followed by Mitchell College (59), Lesley (80), Southern Vermont College (84), Newbury College (88), and Elms College (139).
Fran Cusick (Lexington, Mass.) earned third place overall with a time of 28:32. Cusick was within a short distance of the lead runner for much of the race, but suffered through cramping throughout the race and was unable to cut into the lead. For his efforts, Cusick earned First Team All-Conference for the second year in a row.
Brian Axelrod (River Vale, N.J.) finished just outside of the top ten in 11th place with a time of 31:01.
Sam Hunt (Washington Depot, Conn.) raced past a Newbury College runner in the final 100 feet to finish with a time of 31:51 in 14th place.
Matthew Hunt (Dracut, Mass.) could have been the reason for Lesley's third place team finish as in the final moments of the 8K race, Hunt passed by three runners to take 20th place at 33:15.
The final runner to cross for the Lynx was Ben Arcangeli (Westborough, Mass.) whose time of 41:33 in 34th place.
Lesley will next travel to the ECAC Championships at Colt State Park on November 8th starting at 10:00 am.
To learn more about the Lesley University men's and women's cross country teams, please visit their website.
Sports Information Director