BOSTON, Mass. - Senior Kaneen Gomez-Hixson (Wethersfield, CT) broke the tape for the second straight year at the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships on Saturday afternoon held at Boston's historic Franklin Park. She becomes the first runner in USJ history to win the women's individual championship crown in back-to-back seasons. As a team the Blue Jays finished fourth overall, one spot better than their finish in 2015.
Gomez-Hixson was the only runner to break the 20-minute mark, completeing the 5K championship course held at Franklin Park with a winning time of 19:54 to defend her individual title and best the 97 runner field. She finished eight seconds faster than the second place runner Emily Manfra of Suffolk (20:02). With the victory, Gomez-Hixson was also tabbed the GNAC Women's Runner of the Year and First Team All-GNAC in the post-meet ceremony.
Sophomore Mia Tompkins (Meriden, CT) crossed the finish line second for the Blue Jays. She fininshed 16th overall turning in a time of 21:01.
Junior Mary Anderson (Granby, CT), senior Alyssa Vereneau (Newington, CT) and sophomore Madison Boyce (East Hampton, CT) were the three final scoring runners for USJ and they all finished inside the top-40. Anderson ran to a 23rd place finish with a time of 21:31, while Vereneau finished 34th with a time of 22:19 and Boyce 38th with a time of 22:55.
USJ scored 112 points as a team for the fourth place finish and were just four points away from tying for third place and finishing on the podium. Norwich scored 50 points and was crowned the team champion after a tie-breaker with Simmons, who would finish runner-up. Emmanuel was just ahead of USJ with 108 points in third. USJ was fourth followed by Johnson & Wales (127), Suffolk (128), St. Joes Me. (153) and Lasell (224) to round out the eight team field.
The USJ cross country team will continue its season next with the NCAA DIII New England Regional meet on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Stanley Park in Westfield, MA.