XC teams battle through Atlantic 10 Championships

Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics Redshirt junior Rico Galassi poses with his new hardware after finishing first out of 123 runners in the A-10 men’s race. He was named First Team All-Conference and the 2016 Most Outstanding Performer.

Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics
Redshirt junior Rico Galassi poses with his new hardware after finishing first out of 123 runners in the A-10 men’s race. He was named First Team All-Conference and the 2016 Most Outstanding Performer.

By Adam Lindner | Staff Writer

This past weekend, Duquesne’s men’s and women’s Cross Country teams both competed in their respective Atlantic 10 Conference Championships and continued their recent run of success.

Held in Mechanicsville, Virginia at Pole Green Park on Saturday, both teams finished well in the top of their fields of 14 with a second place finish for the men’s team and a third place finish on the women’s side.

The men’s team, led by Rico Galassi, finished second with 77 points right behind Dayton, who finished with 57. Saint Louis was a close third with 85 points, and George Mason and Saint Joseph’s rounded out the top five with 102 and 130 points, respectively.

Galassi, a redshirt junior, finished the five mile run with a time of 24:32.3 and a first place finish out of 123 runners overall, placing him 10.1 seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Hunter Johnson of Dayton.

Duquesne head coach Jim Lear was pleased with the performance of his top athletes.

“Rico had an exceptional race,” Lear said. “I’d actually say all six people at the front, the three women and the three guys, had great races. Rico, obviously, a win’s a great thing.”

A great thing indeed. While Duquesne certainly benefited from Galassi’s strong outing, Christian Kazanjian and Cordon Luoco both ran exceptionally as well. Kazanjian finished fifth with a time of 24:49.3, while Luoco finished eighth at 24:59.2.

Dino Andrade (No. 31 overall, 25:39.2) and Josef DiPietrantonio (No. 32, 25:40.5) rounded out the top five for the Duquesne men.

Duquesne’s women’s team was also represented very well, finishing third out of a field of 14 behind Richmond, who finished first with 77 points, and Dayton, who finished second with 88 points. Though Duquesne finished with 88 points as well, Dayton was awarded second place through the tiebreaker policy. Davidson (109 points, fourth place) and UMass (150, fifth) rounded out the top five teams.

Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics Senior Valerie Palermo competed in her final A-10 Championship event, finishing third out of 131.

Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics
Senior Valerie Palermo competed in her final A-10 Championship event, finishing third out of 131.

Running a distance of a 5k (3.12 miles), the women’s team was boosted heavily by top runners recording very impressive times. Valerie Palermo finished third out of 131 runners and posted a commendable time of 17:20.4. Soon after Palermo were fellow Dukes Autumn Greba (17:29.2) in sixth and Jenny DelSignore (17:30.4) in seventh.

While coaches and runners alike were hoping to win the championship, there’s still incredible solace to be taken in how both teams performed, according to Palermo.

“I’m very proud of our team’s overall performance,” Palermo said. “I think we all [did] our absolute best and left it all on the course. It’s obviously disappointing to come in [third], but I think that we all did everything we could and put in the work all season in order to do our best.”

Although neither team may have won the championship, both teams have a major chance to redeem themselves in the upcoming NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals, held at Penn State on Nov. 11.

“I think everyone is excited to compete with some of the best ranked schools in the area,” Palermo said.

Lear said that Duquesne should be in “good shape” heading into Regionals, just as long as the team’s top three runners on each side have strong outings.

He emphasized that because the Regional meet will have a much larger number of runners.

“Lower counting sticks would help a lot,” Lear said. “Run similar to what they ran in the conference meet, yeah, I think we should be in pretty good shape.”

What do you think? Leave us a comment!