The College of Staten Island has been sponsoring a men’s cross-country program since 2007, and today the team advanced the farthest it has ever come previously to winning a CUNYAC title, finishing as the runner-up at this year’s CUNYAC Cross-Country Championship Meet at Van Cortlandt Park, in the Bronx, New York. Hunter College came in first place in the 8k event with 33 points, as the Dolphins came in with 82 points to lead the rest of the pack, 10 points better than third place John Jay College. On the women’s ledger, CSI placed eighth of nine teams in the field, but all of the Dolphins scorers shaved considerable times off of their races.
In the much anticipated men’s final, CSI Head Coach Robert Russo was hoping for a top-three finish and the team did not disappoint with its second-place showing. Coming in tops for CSI with a time of 29:14 was sophomore Andrew Pate, who came in fourth overall in the field. As expected, on his heels was frosh Samuel Obesanya, who crossed in 12 seconds later and was next to cross in the race, giving CSI two of the top five racers in the entire field.
Newcomer Keith Grossman secured a time of 29:59, good for eighth place overall, and from there, CSI felt it really had a shot at the overall bronze. Finishing out the scoring was Richard Ruggiero’s 32:36 finish, good for 28th overall and Michael Wallace’s time of 33:39, good for 37th. For Ruggiero, the time was seven seconds better than his former best, and for Wallace it was a full 9 seconds better than his previous best.
Not scoring for the Dolphins was Shawn Cybulska (36:12, 47th) and Marcel Apelbaum (38:27, 50th). Those times were also personal bests for them by a combined five and half minutes.
The awesome effort left Russo highly impressed with his team’s performance.
“I am very excited with the performance level we had and the way the team is coming together,” he said. “It was very exciting to see us do that well and see our individual performances reach their peak.”
While the men impressed, so did the women via individual performances that shattered former bests. The team finished eighth overall, but each CSI scorer improved on personal best times in the race.
First in for the Dolphins was Victoria Barry’s 27:10 time in the 6k, good for 17th overall and a full 2:02 better than her previous best a few weeks ago. Staying true to the improvement by two minute mark was Joanna Villegas’ time of 27:33, good for 22nd place and 2:22 better than her former best this season. Freshman Ayat Odeh was next in, coming on 50th with a time of 35:22, a full 3:27 better than her former high this season.
Kubra Shirazi posted a great performance with a time of 36:04, good for 51st place and 2:27 better than her former best. A personal-best was also in store for Sandra Battle, who raced in at 36:46 or 2:08 better than her previous best. As a team, CSI shaved off 14 minutes and eight seconds off of their time, an astounding achievement.
CSI still has one more meet left at Van Cortland Park, which is the NJIT Halloween Classic on November 4.