On a beautiful morning to usher in the 2014 campaign, the College of Staten Island men’s cross-country team cashed in a solid performance, placing fourth among 13 teams and tops among CUNY schools at the Baruch College Invitational held at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, NY.  The CSI women did not place as a unit, expecting to do so next week for the official start of their team season.

In the 8k event for the men, CSI got a nice lift from freshman Andrew Scharf, who placed 21st overall with a time of 31:43, which was fifth among CUNYAC runners.  A few beats behind was fellow frosh Liam McMunn, posting a time of 32:06 in his first competitive meet.  In 28th place came last year’s dynamic freshman Justin Mills, posting a 32:35 time, and from there, CSI was humming.  Kenneth Morella was next to cross at 33:07, followed Matthew Day (34:07) and Samuel Obisanya (34:57).

Also placing for the CSI fleet was Joshua Ribaudo (52nd, 36:03), Zain Ali (54th, 36:36), and Patrick Kettyle (61st, 37:31).  It was a complete performance, and according to the reigning CUNYAC Coach of the Year Robert Russo, the best is still yet to come.

“Our new crew of freshmen did extraordinarily well, but I think they will all tell you there is plenty of room for improvement,” said Russo, who also noted that some of his runners were banged up and were not even racing at 100% strength.  “We had a very nice performance for our first outing, but the goal is to get even better beginning next week.”

CSI finished with 140 points, ahead of Baruch College and last year runners-up John Jay College, who both finished in a tie for 5th-place with 166 points.  Monroe College won the meet with 31 points, followed by Goldey Beacom College with 38 points and Yeshiva University with 109 points.

The CSI women did not place at the team, but gearing up for team play next week, CSI did field two runners in the 6k event.  Freshman Victoria Crea had a dynamite performance by racing to a 29:11 finish, god for 15th overall and third among CUNYAC runners, while reigning CUNYAC All-Star Victoria Barry finished at 32:21, good for 34th place.

CSI will participate in the Bard Invitational next Saturday in their next competitive meet.