Men & Women’s Cross Country Victorious

Castleton State College’s men’s and women’s cross country teams overcame nagging injuries and absent key players to kick off their 2009 season with back-to-back victories over fellow Vermont colleges.
The Spartans dominated Green Mountain College on Sept. 2, Castleton’s only home meet of the year. But the meet against the Eagles was not the true test of how the new season would start for the Spartan men and women. After their uplifting victory, Castleton traveled to Johnson State College to race against the Badgers as well as GMC and Vermont Tech on Sept. 5. A young men’s team and an injured women’s team were still able to come back to Castleton with another victory.
The lady Spartans returned with a perfect score of 15. Junior Maggie Klein, who ran with her arm in a cast, placed first, followed by senior Molly Hutchinson, juniors Amber Ruscoe, Lauren Cosgrove and Sage Small. Freshman, Sarah Aiello and senior, Ashley Parker finished 24th and 25th in the 3K meet.
“Sage definitely stepped up and helped the girls get the score they did,” said coach John Klein. The team, who according to Klein is going through several bags of ice this year for various injuries, has benefited from other runners stepping up to the challenge.
The Castleton men’s team was the real experiment. With three freshmen and upper-classmen Jeff Paul and Nick Grasso (both three-time All-Conference runners) unable to run, the results were uncertain. But all three freshmen placed in the top four: Nohea King took first place followed by Isaac French. Steve Hageman placed fourth. Senior Nick Soares placed 8th despite being sick with a cold. Juniors Mike Campbell and Andrew Hicks placed within the top 15 in the 5K run.
“Overall I think we’re moving in the right direction,” said Klein.
Castleton will return to JSC in a month for the state meet where the women will run a 5K race, and the men will run an 8K race.
Before looking ahead to their return to Johnson, the Spartans will focus their attention on their next meet at U Mass- Dartmouth on Sept. 19.
“It’s a very fast, flat course,” said Klein, “Everyone should get good times. But the level of competition will be a step up.

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