Seniors Pamela Petruski and Sarah Fry of the St. John’s cross country team finished first and second, respectively, at the Paul Short Invite last Friday at Lehigh University.
Despite placing 24th out of 39 teams in the meet, St. John’s managed to improve their average 6K time to 23:47 from the 25:37 the team finished with at the Iona Meet of Champions.
Since being named co-captians, Petruski and Fry have taken on much needed leadership roles with the team, and are leading by example. Fry has finished in the scoring top five in each of St. John’s three meets so far this season. Her 23:26 time at the Paul Short Invite was her best 6K time in a meet since hersophomore year. Petruski drastically improved her 6K time as well, finishing the Paul Short Invite more than two minutes faster than she did at Iona.
“We were very pleased with our effort last Friday at the Paul Short Invite,” head coach Jim Hurt said. “Although we ran without some of our top runners, the rest of the team really stepped up and performed well. The improvement in times from the previous meet showed that we’re moving forward.”
St. John’s has also received a nice boost from junior Sarah Sudbury. Like Fry, Sudbury has placed in St. John’s scoring five in every meet this year.
However, last week was a prime example of how much the Red Storm need their younger runners to step up, if they plan on making an impact in the Big East this year. The short-handed Red Storm competed last week without sophomore Aryon Trujillo and freshman Michelle Duffy, who both missed the meet due to injuries. Trujillo started the year off with a bang, finishing first overall at the Hofstra Invitational with a final time of 19:58.42, while Duffy fit right in with her new team, finishing third and first on the team in previous meets before missing last week’s meet.
Another freshman, Stephanie Barnes has a couple of top five finishes of her own for St. John’s, and set her career 6K bench mark with a 23:36 time at last week’s meet.
If the Red Storm continues to see great things out of their freshman and sophomore runners, the team will have the depth it needs, in addition to the experience the junior and senior runners are providing. Once healthy, the team could have everything it needs to become an elite team in the Big East this season.
Last week’s Paul Short Invite was the team’s final tune up before their first championship meet of the season, the Metropolitan Championship. The team finished fourth out of fourteenth at last year’s Metropolitan Championship, including top 20 overall finishes from Trujillo and Sudbury. The team will look to build on last year’s success in order to gain some momentum for the rest the 2009-2010 season.
The meet is set to take place in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx with a 2:15 p.m. start time.
“I’m really excited about this Friday’s race at the Mets,” Fry said. “Pamela and I have been having some great workouts and are getting into a good groove. Last Friday was a great race for all of us. The conditions were perfect and we performed pretty well.”