BRONX, N.Y. - The Columbia men's and women's cross country teams continued their dominance of the Metropolitan Championships on Friday as both won their respective races in this year's event at Van Cortlandt Park.
"I think it was a great day for us on both the men's and women's side," Columbia assistant coach Will Boylan-Pett said. "It's really cool. The women have now won 14 in a row and the men have won nine out of the last 10 years. That's obviously something that's very important to us. It's every school in the metro area, so it's a good thing to be on the positive side of that. As for the team, I think it really shows how deep we are on both sides. We held out some of our top people, both men and women, and we were still able to win with relatively few points on both sides."
The No. 18 Columbia men have now won 13 of the past 16 Metropolitan Championships. The Lions took first place in the 8K race with a team score of 22, winning by 39 points. Columbia placed eight runners in the top 13.
Sophomore Byron Jones led the Lions with a second-place showing, clocking a time of 25:19. First-year Daniel Everett (third, 25:32), senior Adam Behnke (fourth, 25:55) and first-year Daniel Nestor (fifth 25:59) had strong races as well to give Columbia four of the top five finishers. Kyle Cooke (eighth, 26:04), Casey Adams (ninth, 26:11) and Evan Tsembelis (12th, 26:15) rounded out the Lions' top seven.
"Byron Jones had a huge breakthrough," Boylan-Pett said. "He was more of a track guy in high school and his first year in college. He was second overall, scoring in 25:19, which is a phenomenal time on that course. We're really happy for him and that step puts him right up there with some of our best guys."
The Columbia women took the 5K team title at the Metropolitan Championships for the 14th straight year. The Lions totaled 37 team points to win by a 15-point margin and featured six runners in the top 15.
Junior Noelle Van Rysselberghe took second place for the Lions with a time of 18:19 and first-year Ann Carey was right behind her in third, clocking in at 18:24. Aryn Foland (eighth, 18:44), Madeline Rathbun (10th, 18:55), Laura Vigilante (14th, 18:59), Irene Kalbian (15th, 19:01) and Kaylin Mahoney (22nd, 19:17) rounded out Columbia's top seven.
"It was great to see Noelle Van Rysselberghe back," Boylan-Pett said. "This was her first race and she looks to be coming back to top form. We expect her to hop right in there with the varsity coming up very soon."