Junior Rosa Moriello had not run for the Boston University cross country team since 2011, but that did not stop her from having a stellar season debut Saturday.
Moriello placed first out of 65 runners to propel the women to a team victory at the Ted Owen Invitational hosted by Central Connecticut State University. As she redshirted the 2012 season, it was Moriello’s first time competing for the BU cross country team since she finished 18th at the 2011 NCAA Northeast Regional.
“Well, it’s a game-changer, I’ll say that,” said BU coach Bruce Lehane about Moriello’s return. “She has always done really well and is in great shape right now and running well, so we’re excited to have her back. It kind of gives a lift to everybody on the team, so that’s awesome.”
While there was a malfunction with the clock and no official times were recorded for the women’s race, Lehane said he recorded Moriello as finishing the difficult course in approximately 16:55.
“She actually ran a little quicker than I would’ve guessed … that’s pretty good,” Lehane said. “There was a fairly significant hill midway through the race, which you would expect would slow people down. She ran well, she ran strong and she finished out pretty much in control of the race.”
Senior Nikki Long finished the race in fourth place, her second straight meet placing in the top five after finishing in third place at the Nassaney Invitational at Bryant University Sept. 7.
“She’s running better than I’ve ever seen her run,” Lehane said about Long. “If we can keep that going, we’ve got something good going with her. She’s running really strongly in cross country. Ordinarily she’s stronger on the track, but she’s doing really well in cross country, which I think bodes well for the track as well when we get there.”
Sophomore Shelby Stableford placed 10th overall in the race, junior Ashli Tagoai placed 15th and senior Janelle Jorgensen was 16th to complete the scoring for the Terriers. Senior Ally Brillaud placed 17th, and freshman Felicia Sciortino finished in 23rd place to round out the Terrier contingent. BU finished with 46 points, edging out second-place University of Connecticut by just three points.
On the men’s side, sophomore Alec Olson finished in first place with a time of 26:09.79. Senior Michael Caputo finished in ninth place with a time of 26:31.37, while junior Ben Ravetz excelled in his season debut, placing 10th in 26:36.70.
Sophomore Paul Gennaro placed 15th with a time of 27:05.37 and junior John McKeon finished with a time of 28:02.15, good for 25th place. The Terriers totaled 60 points as a team, placing second overall.
Freshman Matti Groll crossed the line right behind Ravetz in 26th place, finishing in 28:04.42. Senior Tom Waterman finished in 28th place with a time of 28:10.92.
Lehane said he was pleased with the races on the men’s side, particularly Olson’s, but he also said he feels that the men’s team is capable of even more improvement.
“I feel like [Olson] can run significantly faster when he really digs down and has to,” Lehane said. “In fact, I think the whole men’s team is like that. I think we have got to step it up, and we plan to as the season progresses.”
With two races under its belt, the team is in a good position at this point in the season, Lehane said.
“We’re making progress,” Lehane said. “We still have a way to go, but you don’t want to round into form too early in the season. I think the women’s team could gel at the right time. That’s what we’re hoping for. We’ll see … it’ll be exciting.”