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Freshmen Do Heavy Lifting as Cross Country Starts at Bryant Invitational

Harvard was led by a pair of freshmen at the season-opening Bryant Invitational (Photo Courtesy: Harvard Cross Country).

SMITHFIELD, R.I. –
With a crew comprised of mostly freshmen and sophomores, the Harvard cross country team started its season off on a strong note, competing at the Bryant Invitational Saturday. First-year runners led both the Harvard men and women in the competition.

"Today was a great start to our season," said Jason Saretsky, director of Harvard cross country and track and field. "We primarily ran freshmen and some sophomores but I was really pleased with how they competed."

Rookie Ryan Meehan led the men's efforts for the Crimson, posting a time of 15:36.74 on the 5k course, good for 11th overall in the race. Up next was sophomore Erik Kraus with a time of 15:52.52, crossing the line in 17th, and freshman Will Geiken placed 21st with a time of 15:55.77, edging out a Providence runner by less than two-tenths of a second. Brothers Fred (16:06.20) and Carl (16:09.56) Ward rounded out the top five for Harvard, placing 25th and 29th, respectively, and freshman Anders Gonalez was right on their heels, coming in with a mark of 16:09.69. 

In her first collegiate race, Alaina Alvaerz paced the Harvard women, placing seventh with a time of 18:20.06 on the 5k course. Sophomores Alaina Murphy (18:36.12) and Morgan Kelly (18:45.17) also notched top-15 finishes for the Crimson, and freshman Viviana Hanley took 16th in the race with a time of 18:52.44. First-year Whitney Thornberg was the fifth Harvard runner across the line, placing 31st with a time of 19:45.47.

"This was an important opportunity to knock off some rust and get a race under our belts before we head into HY(P) next weekend, which we are really excited to host," said Saretsky. "Hopefully we can get some fans out to support us next week at Franklin Park for the races which start at 11 a.m."