Panther freshman finishes runner-up, Panther men place fifth
DORCHESTER, Mass. – The Plymouth State University men's cross country team wrapped up the regular season Friday with another strong performance, placing fifth out of 22 teams at the Emmanuel College Invitational held in Franklin Park.
Freshman Sam Brunnette (Newport, Vt.) nearly won the race, finishing second overall among the 203 runners. His time of 26 minutes, 33.75 seconds on the 5K course was less than three seconds behind the winner, Fitchburg State sophomore Jake Hastings (26:31.00), and less than five seconds off his school record. It is also the highest finish for a Panther runner since PSU reinstated men's cross country in 2013.
"Sam was part of a pack of five all race until a final hill with a half mile to go, said PSU Head Coach John Ostler. "He and the winner broke away from the field on that hill. Sam and Hastings traded the lead with small surges over the next 600 meters. Hastings only pulled away for good in the final stretch. Sam's race was tactically excellent but just ran into a runner with more foot speed."
Classmate Warren Bartlett (Loudon, N.H.) posted a top 10 finish for the Panthers, placing 10th in a time of 27:10. PSU's next three finishers to earn a spot in the scoring were freshmen Cameron Pavao (Methuen, Mass.) and Brendan Polichronopoulos (Penacook, N.H.) and junior Shawn Miller (Atkinson, N.H.); Pavao came in 24th with a time of 28:05, Polichronopoulos crossed the line 29th in 28:16, and Miller was 53rd in 29:14.
"Today was a good tune-up race for the men," said Ostler. "The goal today was to run a tactically smart race and refine our individual strategies heading into championship season. I'm very proud of Brendan and Shawn. Those two knew they needed to step up and have good races today. We were a little short handed because of class conflicts but they filled the gaps nicely. I feel very good about our team heading into the Little East Championship."
The Panthers will compete in the Little East Conference Championships on Saturday, Oct. 31 at Keene State College. The Panthers will be looking to improve on last year's fifth place finish among six teams.
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