BOSTON, Mass. - Norwich University won both the women's and men's races on Saturday afternoon to sweep the 2016 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Cross Country Championships, which took place at Boston's historic Franklin Park. Emmanuel College had a strong showing in both races as the Men earned Runner Up honors while the women placed third overall in the eight team field.
University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) senior Kaneen Gomez-Hixson was the women's individual winner with a 5K time of 19:54, while Johnson & Wales University senior Adam Sachs was the men's individual champion, leading the way with a time of 26:13 in the 8K race. Both were honored as the respective GNAC Runners of the Year in a post-meet ceremony as a result of their first-place finishes.
Norwich won the women's race with 50 points, earning the tiebreak to take home the team title over Simmons College, which also finished with 50 points. The Saints finished third, followed by USJ and JWU to round out the top-five.
EC junior Nicole Varca (Wethersfield, Conn.) was the top finisher for the Saints with a time of 20:21, good for ninth place overall. Sophomore Mimi Duncan (Portsmouth, N.H.) finished 20th overall at 20:15 followed by sophomores Jordyn Gonsor (Springfield, Mass.) and Reilly Boyle (Wells, Maine) in 26th and 27th place, respectively. Rounding out the Emmanuel top five was sophomore Rachael Nazzaro (Amesbury, Mass.) in 32nd place with a time of 22:08.
The Norwich men took home their ninth GNAC crown in program history with just 21 points, while runner-up Emmanuel totaled 69 points. Emmanuel was followed by JWU in third, Saint Joseph's College of Maine in fourth and Lasell in fifth. For the complete team standings, please see the above results.
For the Saints, rookie Erik Brobst (Freeport, Maine) had a strong showing with a sixth place showing in 27:16 while fellow rookie Patrick Carty (Sweeden, Maine) was just nine second off his pace with an eighth place showing. Senior Ian Chamenko (Beacon Falls, Conn.) was next in the race in ninth overall at 27:46 to help the Saints in the team standings. Rookie Phillip Malm (Worcester, Mass.) ran well to finish fourth on the EC roster with a 29th place finish at 29:31 while sophomore Jefferson Zannoni (Merrimack, N.H.) rounded out the top five for the hosts in 32nd at 30:12.
In both races, the second-place finisher was a freshman runner that earned GNAC Rookie of the Year honors, as Suffolk University first-year Emily Manfra finished second to Gomez-Hixson (20:02) and Norwich's Jack McNally was second to Sachs with a time of 26:28. McNally led the way for the champion Cadets, who saw five of their runners cross the finish line in the top-7 for First Team All-Conference accolades.
Norwich head coach Nick Cooper was named the GNAC Women's Coach of the Year, while first-year leader Scott Hutchinson was voted the GNAC Men's Coach of the Year by his peers.
Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 12 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Each year, the GNAC sponsors and administers 17 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunities and community involvement.
Women's Runner of the Year - Kaneen Gomez-Hixson, USJ
Men's Runner of the Year - Adam Sachs, Johnson & Wales
Women's Rookie of the Year - Emily Manfra, Suffolk
Men's Rookie of the Year - Jack McNally
Women's Coach of the Year - Nick Cooper, Norwich
Men's Coach of the Year - Scott Hutchinson, Saint Josephs of Maine
Women's Institutional Sportsmanship Award - Emmanuel
Men's Institutional Sportsmanship Award - Saint Joseph's of Maine
Women's First Team All-Conference
Kaneen Gomez-Hixson, St. Joseph (Conn.)
Emily Manfra, Suffolk
Emma Weisse, Suffolk
Haddie Lary, Norwich
Chapel Guarnieri, Norwich
Samantha Jaffe, Simmons
Kara McLean, Simmons
Women's Second Team All-Conference
Sarah Curtin, Saint Joseph's of Maine
Nicole Varca, Emmanuel
Sarah Bohan, Simmons
Robyn Hageman, Norwich
Carisa Dekalb, Norwich
Mia DeLuccia, Simmons
Sara Harland, Simmons
Men's First Team All-Conference
Adam Sachs, Johnson & Wales
Jack McNally, Norwich
Brody Hale, Norwich
Adam Saucier, Norwich
Korey Leonard, Norwich
Erik Brobst, Emmanuel
Nathan Paladino, Norwich
Men's Second Team All-Conference
Patrick Carty, Emmanuel
Ian Chamenko, Emmanuel
Nick Shuckrow, Saint Joseph's of Maine
Lucas Fisher, Saint Joseph's of Maine
Cameron Connelly, Norwich
Ryan English, Norwich
Anthony Vernon, Norwich
Anna Maria: Sarah St. John & Brandon Andexler
Emmanuel: Elisa Cantito & Patrick Carty
Johnson & Wales: Kellie Graf & Alex Melnick
Lasell: Karli Manship & Ryan Dalaba
Mount Ida: Jamie Gassman + Ryan Burch
Norwich: Jessica Fulk & Constantine Routos
St. Joseph (Conn.): Mia Thompkins
Rivier: Anna Pearsons & Yash Jagtap
Saint Joseph's Maine: Sarah Curtin & Nick Shuckrow
Simmons: Madison Rivard
Suffolk: Audrey Kopich & Daniel Campisano
*Release courtesy of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference