Men’s Cross Country Finishes Strong at CACC Championships
Led by the first-place finish of Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Runner of the Year, Giancarlo Martines ’18, and a top-10 finish by all-conference runner Eric Barton ’17, the men’s cross country team accomplished its best season yet, placing fifth at the CACC Championship meet October 25.
Improving on his ninth place finish from last year’s championships, Martines set both a school record and personal best with his time of 27:08:60 in the 8K race. In doing so, he became the first runner from the College to be named CACC Runner of the Year. Additionally, Martines made history as being the first runner from the College to place in the top 10 at the NCAA Division II Regional Championships, doing so with a program-best time of 31:40 in the 10K.
“Carlo’s winning was definitely a breakthrough for us,” says Head Coach Philip Reilly, who was hired to take over the ailing program in 2012. “We’re getting closer to being a regional distance power which was the goal from day one.”
In addition to the fifth-place finish at the conference championships, the men’s team added a third-place finish at the Cougar Chase Invitational and also recorded the program’s first-ever, first-place finish at the Bryn Athyn Invitational.
It’s quite an accomplishment for a team that used to be composed only of athletes from other sports looking to stay in shape in the off season. In fact, according to Reilly, this is the first year both the men’s and women’s teams were able to go 100 percent runners, something he believes has had a great deal to do with this year’s success.
“For the kids, this is their sport,” he says. “It helps build cohesiveness as well, with everyone running for the sake of running and not just to stay in shape for whatever sport they play.”
One of these early recruits was Martines, who through a chance introduction stemming from Reilly’s book about a dedicated runner looking to reclaim former glory, “Chasing Ghosts," discovered Chestnut Hill College.
“His high school coach had read my book and passed it along to Carlo and his mom,” Reilly says. “I told the coach that if Carlo wanted to meet me all he had to do was come to an open house.”
Martines did just that, and after visiting the campus and talking with Reilly, found both Chestnut Hill and the cross country program to be the ideal fit.
“The team is doing great collectively and Coach Phil is doing a great job motivating us and bringing us together,” Martines says. “We’re close to accomplishing the goals we set of building up the program and making an impact in the conference.”
Reilly believes the results attained by Barton and Martines will serve as a catalyst to get other top-level recruits to come to the College. He also believes his program has an X-Factor, one that will attract runners and will prove vital in establishing the College as a distance powerhouse.
“There’s no better place to train than Fairmount Park,” Reilly says. “Teams come from all over. Villanova and LaSalle, they bus there, and it’s right in our backyard. We just get to walk across the street to train on the perfect cross country facility. We’re blessed, without a doubt.”
— Marilee Gallagher ’14