ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. – The Salisbury University men's and women's cross country teams traveled away from the Eastern Shore for the first time in the 2013 season and came away with a pair of third-place finishes. The Sea Gulls had a top-10 finisher in each race with sophomore Thomas Burke leading the men and junior Kira Polimeni pacing the women.
Burke completed the men's 6,000-meter race in 20:15.61 for a seventh-place finish, leading his team to 65 points. Susquehanna University took the top spot with 25 points and Elizabethtown (54 points) placed second.
Burke was the first of a deep Salisbury team to cross the finish line with 11 runners in the top 26 places. Senior Nathan Austin (20:37.64) and junior Brandon Horning (20:43.90) finished 13th and 14th in the race.
Junior Jeremy Skarda came home in 17th place with a time of 20:53.10 before a quartet of Sea Gulls cross the finish line just eight seconds apart. Sophomore Eric Wood (20:59.85) led the group in 19th, followed by senior Joel Anderson (21:00.82), sophomore Branden Vanderhoff (21:03.24) and sophomore George Martinez (21:07.32) to round out the top eight.
Polimeni placed eighth to lead the Salisbury team to a third-place finish with 80 points. Elizabethtown won the meet with 19 points and Susquehanna took second with 49. Polimeni ran the 4,000-meter course in 16:33.94, less than half a second from taking seventh place in the race.
Freshman Anna Van Zeijts was Salisbury's second runner across the line, placing 13th, with a time of 16:50.84, while junior Olivia Cloud placed 24th in 17:25.92. Senior Michele Stromberg grabbed 29th place in a time of 17:57.16 and sophomore Becky Early rounded out the Gulls' scoring coming home in 18:05.62 for a 35th-place finish.
Salisbury sent three runners across the line in succession to round out its top eight. Sophomore Samantha Lucas placed 42nd with a time of 18:22.51, followed by classmate Devon Miller (43rd in 18:26.64) and freshman Jessica Pain (44th in 18:30.94).
The teams will be off for a week before hosting their second of three meets at Winter Place Park this season. Salisbury will host the Don Cathcart Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 28.