This fall, the Mules men’s and women’s cross country teams have put up dominating seasons, with some of the best runners in the history of the program having competed for the team this season. On Oct. 14 the team competed at its final regular season meet of the fall, which took place at Gettysburg College. Having already had familiarity with this course from prior races, Jamie Pacilio ’18 was optimistic about how the team would fare in this meet. She especially emphasized the hope of using this meet as a stepping-stone for the conference meet, which would soon follow.

“The biggest goal for the team in the [Gettysburg] meet is to have as much consistent improvement as possible. We have a lot of team members coming back from injuries and sicknesses [at Gettysburg], so it will be great to see where everyone is at. [The Gettysburg meet] will be great preparation for our conference meet because it is at the same course,” said Pacilo.

“The teams have all been working very hard all season in order to ensure the best performance for the conference and regional meets.” – Jamie

It turns out that both teams did in fact perform exceptionally well at the Gettysburg Invitational. The men’s squad placed sixth out of 25 teams, and were fourth out of all Division III teams competing in the meet, according to the Muhlenberg Athletics website. The women’s team fared very well too, ranking eighth out of 31 competing teams. Corey Mullins ‘19 and Anthony Calantoni ‘18 led the men, while Pacilio led the pack on the women’s side.

Head cross-country and track & field coach Brad Hackett has been very impressed with the team’s performance thus far this year. Furthermore, he has taken note of some of the more underrated runners on the team.

“The team has jelled very well this fall and over the next couple of weeks we anticipate that they will come together and perform to the best of their abilities,” said Hackett. When talking about some of the up-and-coming runners on the team, he added, “We have had some young athletes really step up this fall – sophomores Jason Richwall ‘20 on the men’s team and sophomores Alyssa Curtis, Victoria Cabellos ‘20 and Nicole Gibki ‘20 on the women’s team.”

Now that the regular season meets have concluded, it is time for the team to look forward to its postseason competition. Because of the standout performances of many Mules cross-country runners this fall, there are expected to be several Mules represented at the conference, regional, and even national meets. Pacilio talked about all those who possibly might qualify for these meets.

“There is no way to really tell how well a single person will perform on any given day. The teams have all been working very hard all season in order to ensure the best performance for the conference and regional meets. In terms of qualifying for nationals, it looks like we will have two teammates returning to the national qualifier from last year (Mullins and Pacilio). That being said, there is also a big possibility that other team members in the top 5 will step up and qualify for or will be wild carded into the national meet. On the men’s team, sophomore Jason Richwall and senior Anthony Calantoni both have had very good races this season so there is a chance you will see one or both of them at the national meet as well,” said Pacilio.

It is clear that these are two teams with immense success in their chosen sport. Although the cross-country season soon will come to a close, the nature of the sport allows these runners to simply carry over into the winter track & field season. Pacilio recognizes that the best is yet to come for this rendition of Mules runners.

“As this cross country season comes to a close, I think that we are all looking forward to the big meets to come; conferences, regionals and nationals! I am confident that the team will perform well. Looking even farther into the future, Winter Track looks like it will be a very promising season as well which many of us are also excited for.”

Alex Horowitz graduated with a degree in media & communication major and was a co-sports editor of The Muhlenberg Weekly. He was a member of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, as well as a co-president of Relay For Life.


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