One hundred seventeen runners at the Quinnipiac Invitational had perfect conditions for their race last Saturday. The Monmouth Hawks won the race, and the Bobcats finished in seventh, with freshman Mike Levene (pictured) trailing less than a minute behind first place finisher, Pete Forgach of Monmouth.
Levene placed eighth overall with a time of 26:26.8, while Forgace paced the competition at 25:52.4.
“It felt really good,” Levene said when asked about his thoughts on his finish. “A lot better than I expected it to be. The team’s been doing really well and I’ve been toward the middle of the pack so it was a nice surprise.
Surprisingly, Levene said he was focusing on something unrelated to track while running in the race.
“I actually had a song stuck in my head,” Levene said with a chuckle. “It was a good time though. I just started picking people out, saying ‘keep up with them, keep up with them.'”
And keep up with them he did. He was right in the middle of the top 10 finishers. In a previous meet at Stony Brook, Levene also placed among the top 10 with a time of 21:05.8.
The men’s cross-country team has been successful from the start of the season, with third and fourth place finishes in the two previous meets. But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.
“They gave a solid effort today,” head coach Carolyn Martin said. “We definitely had some guys coming back from some injuries, so we had some battles today, but they all put in a strong, hard effort.”
Even with injuries, the Bobcats excelled on their own turf. Levene’s eighth-place finish, along with the help of his 10 other teammates, helped propel Quinnipiac to a seventh-place overall finish with 155 points – 97 points behind Sacred Heart.
Martin said she wants her athletes to strive to reach their full potential, and had high expectations for the regional championship coming up on Oct. 10.
“I’d like to get a top 15 finish in the regional championship, and I’d like to obviously do a repeat of our conference championship,” Martin said. “But we’ll see. It’s going to be an interesting year.
“I hope that we can get everyone back feeling healthy and feeling good so we can be contenders for the conference title.”
The Bobcats will travel to Lehigh, Pa., on Oct. 2 to participate in the Lehigh Paul Short Invitational.