The Boston University women’s and men’s cross country teams wrapped up their 2022 seasons on Nov. 11 at the NCAA Northeast Regional meet. Competing at New York’s Van Cortlandt Park, both teams finished in the top half of their competition fields and now look ahead to the track and field season.
The women’s 6K race opened the rainy Friday morning, and junior Daisy Liljegren led the Terriers to a 15th-place finish. Liljegren remained within the top ten for the entirety of the race. Shaving off 1:40 from her 2021 89th-place finish, the New Jersey native placed 10th overall with a 20:47.9. The top four runners of each region who are not part of the qualifying teams automatically advance to the NCAA championship. Liljegren’s time put her just outside of qualifying individually.
For her top-25 placement, Liljegren earned USTFCCCA All-Region status. Of the 225 women to earn the distinction, only one other runner hailed from the Patriot League.
“Individually at least, I came a little short of my goal of making nationals. I significantly improved from last year,” said LiIjegren “I’m definitely happy about where I am.”
Rounding out the Terriers’ top scoring five were freshman Vera Sjöberg, graduate student Meghan Convery, freshman Addison Schmidt and graduate student Madeline Bachmann. Freshman Olivia Dodds also competed for the team and ran a 23:12.9.
“We actually had a lot of first years that were with us, so they were pretty excited with how they did,” said Liljegren. “It’s exciting to see our potential for the coming year.”
Providence College won the race with 71 points. In a field of 37 teams, the Terriers were the second Patriot League team to cross the finish line. Conference rival Army West Point edged them out by just 14 points, placing 13th.
“We left a little bit bummed about the overall team finish. We knew we were going in shorthanded with (graduate student) Veronica Kriss not running,” said associate head coach Jordan Carpenter. “There were certainly some individual highlights within the races that we left excited about.”
An hour later, the men geared up for their 10K race. For the second race in a row, junior Matt Mason was the first Terrier to finish. Trailing just over one second behind him was senior Foster Malleck. Both Ontario natives dropped time off of their 2021 regional efforts. Trimming 11 seconds off of his previous season, Mason set a new personal record and took 80th place with a 31:19.8. Malleck ran his second-fastest career 10K with a 31:20.9.
After the upperclassmen were a pair of familiar freshman faces: Parker Schneider and Freddy Collins. These first years have found success all season, and this meet was no different. Schneider and Collins placed 84th and 87th, respectively.
“The upperclassmen have done a great job to show them how we do things, making sure that they’re always not exerting themselves too much in workouts because it’s a long season,” said graduate student Marcel Aubry. “Freshman stepping up has been a great part of our success this year.”
This is the only point in the season where the Terriers compete at this lengthier distance, but the first years were unphased by the extra kilometers.
“I think for freshmen, it is certainly different,” said Carpenter. “For the high school distance of 5K, we’re talking about doubling that race distance, so I think it can be a tricky adjustment for first years to make. I thought they handled it well.”
Aubry finished off the top scoring five with a 31:32.8. Placing 95th in 2021 and 195th in 2019, Aubry continued his upward trajectory finishing 93rd overall.
“I definitely [attribute] it to consistency. In endurance sports, you build a base, and aerobic fitness is gained incrementally over weeks and weeks and months and years even,” said Aubry. “Putting in the work even if it’s easy most days will help develop that aerobic system, and it will pay off in the long run.”
Although running is largely an individual sport, the Terriers have worked together as a team all season. In a similar fashion to the previous week’s Patriot League Championship, Boston had the smallest spread of the 33-team race, Carpenter said. Only 13 seconds separated Mason and Aubry’s times en route to a 14th-place finish.
Syracuse University took home first with a 65-point effort. Once again, the Terriers were the second Patriot League team to finish behind Army.
“When you look over your shoulder and you see two teammates right with you or three teammates right with you, it gives you some confidence,” said Carpenter. “To be able to run as a pack is something that can be challenging, but it’s something that is really a hallmark of really strong programs.”
Senior Kevin Murphy and graduate student Aksel Laudon also competed for the Terriers. Murphy placed 113th with a 31:55.5. Laudon, in his first regional meet, followed closely behind at 118th with a 31:59.5.
Now, both teams look forward to the track and field season. The indoor season kicks off Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener meet. Boston will host the meet at the Track & Tennis Center.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing a lot more of the guys play a role,” said Carpenter. “I think we’re going to have some guys that will be setting, not only school records, but also a bunch of top ten all-time performance marks in BU history.”