Women XC top NEC Championships

Zach Smart

Coach Shawn Green and the women’s cross country team couldn’t have asked for better revenge on their long time conference foes, the Red Flash of St. Francis, Pa.

After a heart-breaking, two-point loss to the Red Flash for the title at last year’s Northeast Conference championship, the Bobcats came in looking to exact revenge.

Behind a first place finish and course record time by senior standout Katie Gwyther, the Bobcats handily held off St. Francis, Pa. and raced to a first-place tie with Sacred Heart.

This is the first time in league history that two teams have tied for the title as ties are an extreme rarity in the sport.

“It’s kind of exciting because we never won a championship before, but a little weird because we had to share it with Sacred Heart,” Green said.

Nonetheless, Green was pleased with the outcome.

“It was our first championship since moving up to the Division I level, and I was just really proud with the way that they competed and the way they represented Quinnipiac, in winning, in the unique situation of sharing the title,” Green said.

Gwyther crossed the finish line at 18:01, shattering her previous record time (which was during the Red Flash Invite earlier in the season) at this course to defend her title from last year. She now has won six individual conference championships.

The Madison, N.H., native left opponents back in the dust, holding a sizable lead throughout the race. Second-place finisher Whitney Schnarr (St. Francis, Pa.) crossed the finish mark 1:32 behind Gwyther.

Strength in numbers proved to be the strong point for the ‘Cats as a small pack followed Gwyther.

Standout sophomore Ashley Reichelt placed 10th overall in 20:27. Jenna Nechaman came in right behind Reichelt. She clocked a time of 20:36, good for 12th place.

Sophomore Susan Ashe finished in 13th place, rounding the 5,000+ meters course in 20:14.

The trio of Reichelt, Nechaman and Ashe were named to the NEC All-Conference team with top 14 finishes.

Abbey Gosling helped deliver the first- place tie after edging out a crowd of Sacred Heart harriers to finish the race in 20:48.

On the men’s side, the Bobcats bowed to a strong Red Flash team, one which had five runners finish in the top 11, for a second- place finish.

“They ran a great race, they really did a nice job,” Green said. “Obviously you want to win a championship. We just lost to a better team. St. Francis did a great job today.”

Senior Jeff Roginielewicz, who overcame nagging injuries that sidelined him last season, was the top finisher. The Derby, Conn., native finished in seventh-place in the last race of his collegiate career. Greg Brink, another senior, was right on Roginielewicz’ shoulder throughout the race and finished in ninth place with a time of 27:11 on an extended course.

St. Francis’ “big three” – Ryan Sheehan, Patrick Quinn, and Alphonsus Suravicz – set the tone for the Red Flash with first, second and third-place finishes, respectively.

Sophomore Jacob Gurzler finished in tenth place with a time of 27:15.

Roginielewicz, Brink and Gurzler all achieved All-Conference status.

Matt Warren, who turned many heads as a freshman this season, came in 15th place with a time of 27:30.