The College of Staten Island men’s cross-country team made history by winning their first CUNYAC cross-country title in program history last season, and have followed up with a little more, scoring yet another victory by just a handful of points at the 8k event this morning at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. CSI scored 58 points in the meet, just six in front of John Jay College to earn the honor. Hunter College earned third place with 68 points, making the meet one of the closest between three teams in CUNYAC Championship history.
The Dolphins did their damage by placing four runners in the top 15, all of which earned medals today, and many of the racers throughout the lineup shattered personal best times while they were at it. Freshman sensation Andrew Scharf, who placed first among the Dolphins in all but one race that he participated in this season, carried the torch again today, crossing in at 29:25.6, good for sixth overall in the field. He was CSI’s only top 10 finisher, but the Dolphins were hardly done.
Next to cross for CSI was Kenneth Morella, who finished with an outstanding time of 30:24.8, easily his best 8k at Van Cortlandt this season, placing him 11th overall. Liam McMunn, Morella’s racing partner most of the way, was right there with him at the end, coming in 12th with a time of 30:34.4. Charging hard and making up ground was sophomore Justin Mills, who came in 14th overall with a time of 30:48.7.
CSI’s last scoring runner was junior Samuel Obisanya, who scored for the first time this season after what could be considered a tough season for him. Obisanya came in at a season-best 31:37.0, good for 21st overall. Obisanya likely was the difference in the race. Had John Jay runners Tevin Brown or Christian Baskervil passed him at the finish line, CSI likely would have placed second overall.
The Dolphins turned in great performances as well from Matthew Day (32:03.4, 28th), Joshua Ribaudo (33:39.4, 40th), Richard Ruggiero (33:58.4, 43rd), Zain Ali (34:47.1, 47th), and Khaled Halwani (35:34.0, 54th).
Lehman College’s John Pollina won the race overall with a time of 27:40.1.
CSI Head Coach Robert Russo was ecstatic about his team’s performance. “We were more than ready and I am very happy with how everyone raced,” he said. “Kenny and Sam really came on strong together and our young freshmen runners were exceptional.”
Next up for the Dolphins will be the NCAA Regionals in a couple of weekends. Last year, the Dolphins made their debut in the NCAA’s and will look for even greater results this time around.