The men’s cross country team continued to make progress this weekend at the Allegheny Invitational. They had their first test of the season in very difficult conditions, which should come to be quite useful as the season continues.

Like the women’s team, the men also finished third overall, totaling 67 points. Tied for first were national powerhouses Case Western Reserve University and the hosts Allegheny College, as each team registered 44 points.

“Case is nationally ranked and Allegheny should be. We really outdistanced ourselves from everybody else. The whole team ran very well. Our goal for the meet was to step up to the level of the premier teams. We’re close and we’re getting better,” Head Coach John Izzo said.

For the third week in a row to start the season, the men put together a solid performance. “I’m very pleased and very excited about where we are as a team. We’re getting in a groove,” Izzo said.

After finishing five and six seconds behind junior Dan Duett in the first two races, freshman Andrew Whitbeck led the way this time around, finishing sixth overall in the eight-kilometer race with a time of 26:49.

Duett was second on the team and eighth overall, crossing the line in 27:18. Sophomore Kevin McGettrick and junior Ian Slattery crossed the line together, both finishing in 27:47, with McGettrick being awarded 14th and Slattery earning 15th place. Rounding out the top five for the men for the first time was junior Peter Nabozny, who ran the race in 28:16, good enough for 24th overall.

“Dan Duett, McGettrick, Slattery and Nabozny all had great races, with more to come,” Izzo said.

Just two seconds behind Nabozny, freshman Ben Snyder was 27th overall with a time of 28:18. Last year’s top runner, sophomore Chris Nolan rounded out the top seven, finishing in 28:27 for 30th overall.

“Chris Nolan is getting stronger every week coming back from an injury. It was by far our best race of the year, and I think we’re only gonna get better,” Izzo said.

Because of the heavy rain to hit the Northeast last week, a course that is considered difficult even under normal circumstances was very muddy to go along the hills.

“It was a very testing but fair course. The footing was a little sloppy due to the rain, but other than that it was good,” Izzo said.

After sticking with two top level teams at the Allegheny Invitational, the men proved they are ready to take on the challenges that await them for the remainder of the season. Their next big test comes after a weekend off, when they will head to SUNY Geneseo to compete on the course that will host the Regional Championships at the end of the season. With some of the top teams in the region expected to show up to get an early taste of the course, the time off to prepare should be quite helpful. After the next meet, the team will have a very good idea of where they stand relative to their closest competition and what they need to do to continue to prepare for the championship season.

Swidler can be reached at

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