WESTFIELD, Mass. - The University of Saint Joseph cross country team finished 27th out of 41 teams at the James Earley Invitational hosted by Westfield State on Saturday. The meet featured 459 total runners competing across a 5K course held at Stanley Park in Westfield, MA. The five scoring Blue Jay runners averaged a team time of 25:52.89 for the result.
Senior Kaneen Gomez-Hixson (Wethersfield, CT/Singapore American School) paced the way once again for the Blue Jays on Saturday and turned in yet another impressive performace finishing 17th overall. The veteran logged a time of 22:54.03 for the top-20 result. Mia Tompkins (Meriden, CT/Mercy) also had a nice result placing inside the top-100 with a 72nd place overall finish. The sophomore posted a time of 24:26.28.
Rounding out the first five scoring runners for the Blue Jays was junior Mary Anderson (Granby, CT/Westminister), senior Alyssa Vereneau (Newington, CT/Newington) and freshman Kristina Petit (Plainville, CT/Plainville). Anderson crossed the finish line with a time of 26:34.30, good for a 186th place finish, while Vereneau was right on her heels and finished 192nd with a time of 26:42.07. Petit passed the time stamp at the 28:47.76 mark to finish 233rd.
Junior Paulina Koloda (Jaroslaw Poland/Torrington) and freshman Stephanie Ross (Windsor, CT/Windsor) also competed for USJ in the meet. Koloda finished 255th with a time of 30:37.47 and Ross posted a time of 32:18.99, good for a 259th place finish.
The University of New England took the top spot as a team at the meet with an average team time of 22:46.73. Tufts finished second followed by Keene State, Brandeis, and Smith College to round out the top-five.
The USJ cross country team will return to action next Saturday, Oct. 15 when they head to Western New England for a meet beginning at 10:30 a.m. The meet will be the final preparation for the Blue Jays before the GNAC Championships which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Franklin Park in Boston, MA.