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PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Providence College men’s and women’s cross country teams are set to compete at the BIG EAST Cross Country Championships on Oct. 31 in Mason, Ohio. The No. 6 Friar women head into the race as the favorite to win the event, while the men sit as the second-ranked BIG EAST team in the national polls at No. 24.
The last time the women captured a BIG EAST team title was in 2013, while the men were last victorious in 2006. This weekend, the women will be competing for their seventh BIG EAST Team title in program history and the men will be competing for the program’s 16th team title. An additional team title will mark head coach Ray Treacy’s 17th BIG EAST cross country team title.
After her eighth place finish amongst a strong field in Wisconsin two weeks ago, senior Sarah Collins (Basel, Switzerland) will lead the women on Saturday. For her performance in Wisconsin, Collins was named BIG EAST Athlete of the Week on Oct. 20, the final BIG EAST honors awarded prior to the Championships.
Back into the lineup with Collins will be junior Catarina Rocha (Peabody, Mass.). Rocha sat out the Wisconsin meet due to a sprained ankle but will return on Saturday. Last year, Rocha finished second at the BIG EAST Championships, leading the team to a second-place finish.
Also in the mix will be senior Lauren Mullins (Binghamton, N.Y.) and sophomores Katie Lembo (Penfield, N.Y.) and Brianna Ilarda (Perth, Australia). Mullins, Lembo and Ilarda were Providence’s second, third and fourth runners in Wisconsin. Last year, Lembo and Mullins each earned All-BIG EAST Team honors with their 10th and 14th-place finishes, respectively.
After her breakthrough performance at the Wisconsin Invitational (125th), senior Molly Keating (Rehoboth, Mass.) will step back on the line for the Friars, as will sophomore Mackenzie Barry (Mendham, N.J.) and junior Emily Bushey (Vernon, N.J.).
Rounding out the 10 Providence women to start on Saturday, junior Keelin Hollowood (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) and sophomore Kaitlyn LiPuma (Brick, N.J.) also will race.
The women’s 6km race is set to go off at 11:50 a.m. in Mason, Ohio.
On the men’s side, senior Julian Oakley (Tauranga, New Zealand) will lead the Friars around the 8km course after his solid performance at Wisconsin. Oakley finished as the No. 1 Providence runner at the meet with a 45th-place finish, 23 spots ahead of where he finished last year.
Joining Oakley will be sophomore Thomas O’Neill (Middletown, N.J.). O’Neill and Oakley have been alternating as the No. 1 and No. 2 men on the team this season. In Wisconsin, O’Neill finished as the second Friar across the line with a strong 64th-place finish.
Juniors Hugh Armstrong (Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland) and Trevor Crawley (Cumberland, R.I.), and sophomore Aaron Hanlon (Drogheda, Ireland) also will return for Providence. Last time out, these men finished with an 11-second spread between the three of them at Wisconsin. Armstrong finished as the third Friar across the line in 97th-place, while Hanlon and Crawley were the fourth and fifth Friars in the 114th and 133rd spots, respectively. At last years’ BIG EAST Championships, Crawley, Hanlon and Armstrong finished 20th, 23rd and 24th, respectively and will each look to improve on those performances.
In addition, seniors Stephen Robertson (Wakefield, Mass.) and Christian Costello (Ridgewood, N.J.) will be competing for the sixth and seventh spots on the team this weekend.
To round out the Friars top-10 runners, freshmen Austin Scola (Medfield, Mass.) and Michael O’Leary (Melville, N.Y.) also will compete in Ohio after their fourth and fifth-place finishes at the CCSU Mini Meet on Oct. 23.
The men will be up against No. 14 Georgetown and No. 25 Villanova, as well as the other six BIG EAST Teams set to compete. The race is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m.
Saturday’s race will be streamed live on the BIG EAST Digital Network. Fans can watch via the FoxSportsGo mobile device application free of charge. There also will be live updates via @FriarsXCTrack on Twitter, as well as live results here.
- GO FRIARS -
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