SOUTH BEND, Ind. - In only its second meet of the season, the Columbia men’s cross country team has taken the nation by storm as they captured a win at the prestigious Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, October 4. In a field of 28 teams, including a number of the nation’s top programs, the No. 30 Columbia Lions took first place in the 5-mile Blue race to remain strong on the national stage.
The field featured eight of the nation's top-30 ranked opponents in the latest USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Men's Cross Country Poll. The Lions showed its strength in one of the best performances in program history as they defeated ranked opponents No. 16 Colorado State, No. 21 New Mexico, No. 22 Notre Dame, No. 24 Virginia, No. 26 Florida State and top-10 programs No. 7 Tulsa and No. 9 Princeton. Columbia tallied a total of 133 team points to capture its first victory of the season and defeat Tulsa and Florida State programs who posted top-10 finishes at the 2012 NCAA Championships.
“This was probably the greatest win in the history of our program. I could not be more proud of our guys, “ said Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Coach Willy Wood.
Senior Nicolas Composto led the Columbia pack with a 12th place time of 24:42.0. Just steps behind were senior Jacob Sienko (13th, 24:42.2) and junior Daniel Everett (14th, 24:42.9) to give the Lions three runners in the top-15.
John Gregorek added a top-25 placing as he crossed the finish line in 24th place at 24:52.2.To give Columbia five runners in the top 50, first-year Jack Boyle stepped up in only his second collegiate race to place 50th with a time 25:15.50.
"Jack Boyle was a hero today, " said Wood.
After opening the season with its highest pre-season national ranking in school history, the Lions proved that not only are they are one of the strongest teams in the Ivy League with the win, but they are on the rise as one of the top programs in country.
Up next, Columbia will be back in action in New York City on Friday, October 11 at the Metropolitan Championships in Van Cortlandt Park, the site of this year’s NCAA Cross Country Northeast Regional.