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Strong weekend for cross country

By Caleb Childers
On September 5, 2012

Both the men's and the women's cross country teams started off their seasons with wins at the Mount Saint Joseph Invitational. Although the meet was a much smaller meet than the team usually participates in, the team still dominated the rest of the field and started the season with an impressive
victory. Head coach Ryan Orner was particularly pleased with the teams' performances. "The meet was definitely low-key, and we ran mostly JV and freshman athletes, but I'm happy with how the meet went," Orner said. The men's team won their race in a convincing fashion by taking the first five spots in the race. This gave them a score of 15, which is the best possible score in cross country. Leading the way was junior
Spencer Liechty with a time of 16:45. Close behind him was sophomore Corey Zielinski, who finished three seconds later. Another impressive aspect of the Musketeers' dominating victory is that the top five finishers all ended within 22 seconds of each other. "They worked really well during the entire race and communicated with each other the entire time," Orner said. Not to be outdone, the women's side also won the meet with the low score of 20. They finished 31 points below the next best team at the meet. Possibly the most impressive performance on the women's team was freshman Victoria Ciotti, who finished second overall in her first NCAA cross country race. Ciotti finished with a time of 20:09 and was only 21 seconds behind the race winner. "I think that this was a great way to open up her college career, and I know that Victoria is a top even runner in the future and will be at times this season," Orner said. "She's so hungry and ready to get back out there, and that's an exciting thing." The difference in the amount of training from the high school level to the collegiate level is significant, so having a runner perform so well in her first NCAA race is an achievement. Once Ciotti fully adjusts to the increased training, she will be ready to be a key athlete for the Musketeers. Ciotti is set to have some competition for the next four years in race winner Amanda Shelby, who
is a freshman as well. Next up for the cross country team is the Queen City Invitational this Friday. The team will benefit
greatly from having the race be in their backyard and hope to have another impressive showing. 

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