The University of Maine men and women’s cross country teams traveled to Boston’s Franklin Park on Saturday, Oct. 8 to compete in the New England Championship. This meet featured the region’s best male and female runners, with the men running at a distance of eight kilometers and the women running at a distance of five.
On the men’s side, redshirt fourth-year Jesse Orach did what he’s done all year, leading the Black Bears to a fifth place finish overall. Orach finished with a time of 24:43.46 en route to a fourth place finish individually. He finished 23 seconds behind the individual winner of the meet, Leakey Kipkosgei of American International College.
Orach, the winner of four consecutive America East Men’s Performer of the Week awards this season, improved his time by 14 seconds over last year’s New England Championship.
Teammate third-year John Jacobs joined Orach in the top 20 with a 13th place time of 25:09.30. The Black Bears were one of only three teams (along with Northeastern and Brown) to have multiple runners finish in the top 20.
But it was not enough, as Maine’s fifth place finish saw them 54 points behind winning Northeastern. Other Maine finishes included fourth-year Levi Frye in 28th, second-year Joshua Horne in 54th, second-year Aaron Willingham in 57th, second-year Simon Powhida in 69th and fourth-year Lucas Bourget in 127th.
The Black Bear men averaged a time of 25:26.32 as a team while the squad saw their second consecutive top-five finish in the New England Championship (third in 2015).
They finished behind Northeastern, Brown University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston University in a field of 34 teams.
For the women, second-year Kaitlin Saulter was the first to cross the finish line for the Black Bears with a time of 18:39.82 for 39th place overall. She was followed by second-year Haley Lawrence, who finished 79th with a time of 19:02.09. Lawrence was followed by teammates second-year Faith Gardner in 133rd, third-year Tiana Bibb in 146th, third-year Cassandra Howard in 153rd, first-year Elisabeth Redwood in 202nd and third-year Eleanora Hubbell in 205th. The Black Bear women averaged 19:26.13 as a team, good for 22nd in a field of 35.
The team showed great promise for the future, running only one senior (Bibb), along with two juniors (Hubbell, Howard), three sophomores (Saulter, Lawrence, Gardner) and one freshman (Redwood). Saulter has been especially strong all season, leading the Black Bears in every meet thus far in her first season running cross country.
Both teams now look ahead to Saturday, Oct. 29 when they will head to Baltimore, Md. for the America East Conference Championships.