By: Muhammad Waheed, Assistant Sports Editor
Towson’s cross country team finished in third place with 84 points at the Salty Dog Invitational in Annapolis on Saturday, Sep. 15.
Junior Erica Israel was the first Towson athlete to cross the finish line placing eighth timing 23:38.74.
“Yeah I mean you know it’s a better place than she had last year and through two miles she was somewhere in the mid 20s and really worked hard and have pushed through that final part of the race and you know we’re just encouraged that she’s really taking to the training and believing in herself,” Head Coach Mike Jackson said.
Freshman and Annapolis native Olivia Janke took part in her first collegiate race and placed 11 with a 23:49.6 time while senior Abby Gauthier timed 24:12.96 placing 20th.
“You know so Abby is always consistent,” Jackson said. “She had a seven second personal best. She didn’t do her best so we’re just excited about how she’s going to finish the season once she starts feeling even better and then Olivia you know she’s a great runner. This is her first race just cause she wasn’t feeling to well coming into the season. She loves running, loves competing, loves the team, loves Towson and she’s just the person who always has a smile on her face enjoying the opportunity that she gets and so coach [Henry] Phelan, our distance coach, encouraged her to be very conservative in her first race and she was and then she just moved up and so we expect her to be one of our top runners this year and for the next four years.”
Towson finished the event behind Navy and Maryland, but in front of UMBC, Loyola and Bowie State.
“I thought it was very encouraging,” Jackson said. “We got fourth last year at that meet and this year we got third. We have a very strong mixture of freshman and seniors so just excited about how things started.”
The cross country team’s season opener was the Towson Invitational at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Md. on Friday, Aug. 31. Gauthier won the event timing 15:56.84.
“You know I thought we were very conservative which was our plan,” Jackson said. “It was a good job just to see us in uniform, get some friends and family out there and so we got the job done and won… it’s always great to host a meet and win it.”
Towson will compete next at the Paul Short Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 29 with competition starting at 10 a.m.
“Next one we really take it to another level,” Jackson said. “This year it’s going to be a big time performance from us. I’m just excited about the state of our cross country program and looking forward to seeing how we do.”