SALISBURY, MD – The Salisbury University men's and women's cross country teams hosted their second and final home meet of the season on Saturday, at Winter Place Park. While the Sea Gulls' focus is turning toward the Capital Athletic Conference Championships, just four weeks away, Saturday's meet is a good benchmark, checking where the athletes are against their time from the Sea Gull Opener earlier this month.
The Gulls hosted more than a dozen schools in each race at the Don Cathcart Invitational, with the women earning their first team victory of the season and the men placing third.
The top runner for each Salisbury team was the same as it has been in each race this year. Sophomore Hailey Spinapont was the top Sea Gull on the women's side while freshman Kyle Tockman paced the men.
Spinapont's time of 21:59 was 57 seconds better than her time at the Sea Gull Opener, and she placed third in Saturday's race, leading the Sea Gulls to 84 points. Salisbury claimed the team title by one point over Division II Mansfield University, and Nyack College (also Division II), placed third with 96 points.
From early in the race, a pack of Sea Gulls ran together behind Spinapont. Near the midway point in the race, that group began to break up as sophomore Kira Polimeni pulled away. She would be Salisbury's second finisher, coming home in 23:38 to place 18th.
Junior Claire Lawrence put together a strong finish, pushing up to 22nd place in the closing 1,000 meters for Salisbury with a time of 23:52, while senior Jessie Early was five seconds and one place behind Lawrence.
Freshman Laura Hartman shaved 48 seconds off her time from the Sea Gull Opener, where she finished 50th, and took home 25th place in 24:00, to close out Salisbury's scoring on Saturday.
Tockman put together a late push to pass teammate Jeremy Skarda in the closing meters and finished the 8,000-meter race in a time of 25:52, good for ninth place overall, helping the Salisbury men to 72 points, just one point behind Franklin & Marshall College. Wilmington University picked up the team victory with 34 points.
Skarda, who ran in the top 15 throughout the race with Tockman and junior Nathan Austin, placed 10th with a career-best time of 25:53. Austin came home just a few places behind Skarda with a time of 26:37, in 17th place.
Freshman Thomas Burke came on strong later in the race to earn a 20th-place finish, with a time of 26:43, three and a half minutes under his career-best time, and junior Matthew Hallenbeck rounded out Salisbury's scoring with a time of 26:50 for a 25th-place finish.
After taking next week off, the Sea Gulls will have one more regular-season tune-up before the CAC Championships. Salisbury will run at the Gettysburg Invitational on Oct. 13, and will compete for the CAC titles on Oct. 27, at Frostburg State University.