Men and Women’s Cross Country Season Opener: Raiders Host 20th Annual Harry Lang Invitational

This week, the men’s and women’s cross country teams opened their seasons by hosting the 20th Annual Harry Lang Invitational at the Harry H. Lang Cross Country Course. Both teams were able to finish in third place with the women recording 71 points and the men recording 70. The women were led by sophomore Vicky Martinez, who finished the race ninth and set a personal record with a time of 18:12.5. Right behind her was first-year Elizabeth Timoney, who finished 11th overall with a time of 18:20 in her first race as a Raider. Three other Raiders finished in the top 20 racers, with juniors Ashley De Hechavarria and Caroline Zaworski coming in 17th and 20th respectively while senior captain Tina Bowers placed 19th. 

Syracuse won on the women’s side with 25 points, while Buffalo came in second with 38 points. Cross country coach Luke Burdick was ecstatic with the result and believes that Martinez could, with some improvement, compete in the upper echelon of the Patriot League. He was also pleased to see such a strong performance from a first-year such as Timoney.

“The women’s race was as good as I would have ever thought. To see Vicky Martinez up there and our first-year Elizabeth Timoney doing a great job, for them to be up there running 18-mid or 18-low on a course like ours which is very hilly, probably the hilliest course we’ll run on all year, is a very good sign of things to come,” Burdick said.

On the men’s side, the team was led by senior captain Watson Hanson, who set a personal record of 21:07.9 and finished 10th overall. Five more Raiders were able to place in the top 20, with junior Jonathan Abbott finishing 14th, sophomores Luke Myers, Lucas Culley and Ryan Curran finishing 15th, 19th and 20th respectively. First-year Brian LaFleche finished 17th with a time of 22:11.5. The men finished with 70 points, coming third to Syracuse’s 16 and Buffalo’s 41. Burdick was very pleased with the performance, noting the team’s success on a course that was much hillier than most other courses the team will run on this season.

Senior captain Watson Hanson contributes his foresight on the season to come, “Cross Country is a long, long season and so in my mind the biggest key to getting better is staying healthy. Every year we are plagued by injury and our numbers dwindle by the time we get to championship season in November. Luckily, Coach Burdick has decided to make some changes to the training this year and I think as long as we can all stay healthy the training will speak for itself at those championship meets. I think we need to find a way to close the gap between our top couple runners and those that follow them.” 

Both men’s and women’s cross country will be back in action on September 15, when they travel to partake in University of Buffalo’s UB Stampede event. As they prepare, the teams remain optimistic about improvement.

“Both the men and women have very solid top two or three, and it’s just a matter of getting those fourth and fifth runners on the team a little closer to those top few. If we can do that we should have a great shot at placing well,” Hanson said.

Contact Gideon Hamot at