Manhattan Wins First Metropolitan Championship Since 2001
RIVERDALE, NY – In front of numerous alumni from the 1970s and 80s, the Manhattan College men’s cross country team did something for the first time in 15 years on Friday afternoon at Van Cortlandt Park. The Jaspers put four runners in the top 10, led by Amir Khaghani’s (Bethesda, MD) third-place showing, to win the team title at the annual Metropolitan Championships for the first time since 2001. The women’s squad also had its best finish since 2001, taking second in the team standings.
“It’s incredible,” Head Coach Kerri Gallagher said. “We came into this meet knowing that there’s no reason why we shouldn’t win. There are a lot of strong teams in the Met conference, and nothing’s ever a guarantee. Basically, I gave the guys permission to go for it and whatever came out of that we would be proud of. We came away with a win, and they get to really enjoy that before we go back to work.”
Khaghani finished the 8000-meter course in 26:24.3, just 12 seconds behind Fordham’s Brian Cook. The Jaspers’ next three all crossed the line within three seconds of each other to place eighth, ninth and 10th. Nick Matson (Clifton Park, NY) recorded a time of 26:46.5, while Drew Reda (Matawan, NJ) finished in 26:47.2. In his first race in a Manhattan uniform, Jan Hoffmann (Tubeingen, Germany) ran with the leaders the entire way before ending up 10th (26:49.3).
Patrick Hennelly (Suffern, NY) clinched the team title with his 18th-place finish. He registered a 27:06.2 clocking. Meanwhile, Christian McLaughlin (Allenhurst, NJ) took 22nd place in 27:17.9 and Chad Maier (Melville, NY) ended up 24th in 27:27.8.
Manhattan’s top four finishers all placing in the top 10 proved to be the difference in the team standings. The Jaspers finished with 48 points, six ahead of second-place Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights’ top two went 5-6, but Manhattan’s next three finishers were all ahead of the third Rutgers runner.
The women’s team had just a solid a race as their male counterparts. Manhattan collected 62 points, which was 15 clear of third-place Rutgers. Fordham captured the women’s title with 41 points. The individual winner, meanwhile, was Antonia Howard of St. John’s, who ran 5000 meters in 18:27.0.
Caroline Ferri (Garden City, NY) and Kaitlyn Smith (Effort, PA) both placed in the top five to pace the Jaspers. Ferri was fourth in 19:07.9, with Smith finishing right behind her in 19:09.7. Lisa Fajardo (Brooklyn, NY) secured 13th place with a 19:42.2 clocking, while Alexa Roda (Staten Island, NY) took 17th in 19:55.3. Kelly Gorman (South Amboy, NJ) rounded out Manhattan’s scorers in 23rd (20:03.4). She was followed by Caitlin Hartnett (Tappan, NY) (26th, 20:10.8) and Sam Hoagland (Colts Neck, NJ) (39th, 20:37.2).After racing at Van Cortlandt Park in three of their first four meets, the Jaspers hit the road next Saturday for the UAlbany Invitational, which will serve as their final tune-up before the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championships. Those runners that don’t travel to Albany will compete next Sunday at the St. John’s Fall Festival.