The Boston University women’s and men’s cross country teams competed at the Patriot League Championship in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania on Oct. 29. Both squads had third-place finishes, and the United States Naval Academy swept the weekend for the second year in a row.
The morning began with the women’s 5,950 meter race. Although only the team’s top five runners are scored, Boston featured 12 athletes in the 105-runner event. In a dominant showing, junior Daisy Liljegren was the first Terrier to cross the finish line, placing second overall. The top seven placement earned Liljegren First-Team All-Patriot League honors. This was a considerable improvement from her freshman year where she was the eighth-fastest Terrier — three places outside of the scoring five.
“She’s one of the top runners in the country, and she’s shown that all year,” said associate head coach Jordan Carpenter. “A big goal that we’ve had all year for her is to qualify for the NCAA championships. That will probably require her to finish top 10 or so at the regional championship, which she’s very capable of.”
Boston’s graduate student Megan Convery, freshman Vera Sjöberg, graduate student Veronica Kriss and graduate student Madeline Bachmann rounded out the top five. Convery and Sjöberg were awarded Second-Team All-Patriot League honors for placing within slots eight through 14.
Highlighting her consistency, Convery ran three seconds faster than her fifth-place pace at last season’s championship meet.
“It comes down to just having consistency every day. Going out for every run every day, doing every workout and just constantly showing up,” said Convery. “It’s not always perfect, and it’s not always super fun or enjoyable. But at the end of the day, that’s definitely what works best for me.”
Navy won the race decisively with all five runners finishing in the top 11 spots. Boston’s scoring five all placed within the top 31 runners to finish just 13 points behind second-place Army West Point.
“Definitely wasn’t the fairy-tale ending for the race we wanted as a team. We came out third, and the goal was definitely going in to win and have a really great day,” said Convery. “But that’s just what happens with racing. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way.”
Following the conclusion of the women’s race, 12 male Terriers competed in the 8,050 meter event. Junior Matt Mason continued his past success at the Patriot League Championship coming in first for the Terriers. During his previous two seasons, the Ontario native captured Second Team All-Patriot League and Patriot League Outstanding Rookie of the Meet accolades.
Mason’s seventh-place finish promoted his hardware to First-Team All-Patriot League. At the 5.1K marker, Mason was in 11th place. However, he managed to gradually move up four spots by the end of the race.
“It just became to being smart about how far you could last at that pace and not making your move too early,” said Mason. “I just listened to the race plan that my coach had given us before and stayed calm.”
Senior Foster Malleck and freshman Freddy Collins trailed closely behind Mason to finish ninth and 13th overall, respectively. Collins earned this year’s male Patriot League Rookie of the Meet award because he was the first freshman to cross the finish line.
“Our freshman squad has had an amazing year this year,” said Mason. “I think BU’s cross country program is going to be on a very good path for success on a national level in the coming years.”
Freshman Parker Schneider and graduate student Aksel Laudon finished within three seconds of each other to fill out the remaining scoring Terriers. Despite having a three-year age difference, the two pushed each other throughout the race. This was a common theme for Boston’s male runners. Their spread from runner one to runner five was just 20.1 seconds — the smallest spread of the meet.
“That just speaks to the depth that we have,” said Carpenter. “It gives the young guys confidence to see themselves training with these upperclassmen who have been doing it for a long time, and then I think it also pushes the upper-class group.”
Both teams now look ahead to the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship on Nov. 11. Columbia University will host the races at Van Cortlandt Park in New York. The gun goes off for the women’s 6K race at 11 a.m., and the men’s 10K race will follow at noon.
Only the top two teams from each of the nine regions automatically qualify. An additional13 best teams from across the nation make the cut. From there, 38 individual runners will be selected to race. The top four individuals from each region and two remaining at-large runners will earn a spot at Stillwater, Oklahoma. Liljegren will be in the mix to qualify individually.
“Both squads, we’d like to see them in the top 10,” said Carpenter. “Certainly, we’re going to look for a little revenge against Army in our conference rival who we’ll get to see again. We got the best of them earlier in the year. They got us back in conference championships. That’s certainly a team that we’re going to hope to be able to take down at the regional level.”