By Joe Iuliucci '18
MEDIA, Pa. - It was on a mild and cloudy day at Rose Tree Park that the Ursinus men's cross country team opened its 2017 season at the Bryn Mawr Invitational. The undulating 5k course with its uneven grass footing was unable to bar the Bears from putting on a powerful performance, as Ursinus brought to its race a combination of ferocity and fitness to give the Bears a dominating team title and prove their readiness for the campaign ahead.
Right off the line the men's distance squad controlled its race, filling the top nine places with eight of its guys. After taking it out and working together at the front the entire race, sophomore James McDaid and senior Joe Iuliucci finished 1-2 with times of 16:59.1 and 16:59.9, respectively, as McDaid garnered his first career individual win.
Arcadia's Brian Fridman took third place, the only interruption among the top nine for a hard-charging Ursinus squad. Freshmen Dylan Geissinger-Tuttle (17:28.4) and Matt Roeder (17:43.0) each collected top-five placings in their collegiate debuts, with juniors Jonny Cope (17:43.5) and Andrew Voyack (17:43.8) right behind in sixth and seventh, respectively.
In his first collegiate season of cross country, sophomore John DeLia ran admirably to establish a new personal best of 18:25.13.
Volunteer assistant coach Tyler Melius noted the strength of the men's team already apparent at such an early point in the season.
"Obviously you only need 5 to score, so to have 7 or 8 guys in that mix, they're right in that scoring spot," Melius said. "From the senior leadership down to the freshmen up-and-comers, it's going to be a great squad."
Eastern was second in the team standings, but the Eagles did not feature a runner in the top-eight and finished 37 combined slots lower than Ursinus. Swarthmore (92) was third, followed by Arcadia (131), Penn State-Brandywine (172), Valley Forge Military (179), Camden County College (182), Cabrini (214), and University of Valley Forge (223).
The Bears look to consolidate their impressive debut at Rowan's Bill Fritz Invitational on Saturday, September 16.