For the first time since 2007, NYU men’s cross country finished first at the Metro Championship on Friday, Oct. 5, in Riverdale, N.Y. The Violets finished second in the last two years.
The Violets were ranked 19th by the most recent United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division III Top 35 Poll.
NYU was the only Division III school competing at Metro, and the team won with a total of 50 points. The reigning Metro champions, Columbia University, raced alongside NYU on the 8K course. Columbia is currently ranked 17th by the USTFCCCA Division I Poll.
Three Violets finished in the top five out of the 111 runners in the race. Sophomore Sebastian Oja finished second overall with a time of 26:05.61. Following closely behind Oja was senior captain Kevin Bonilla, who finished in third place with a time of 26:22.49.
“I think it really shows the hard work our team has been putting in this season thus far,” Oja said. “I think this is a great benchmark and confidence booster for our team moving forward as we haven’t won Mets since ’07.”
Senior captain Dylan Karten finished fifth in the race with a time of 26:30.85. Oja, Bonilla and Karten have finished at least in the top 11 of all 11 races this season.
“Everyone gave a great effort out there today, ran smart and moved up through the field,” Karten said. “I have a few things to work on in my race strategy to improve the last two miles of my race, but otherwise I am pretty satisfied with what I ran today.”
The last two scorers for NYU were senior captain Dave Knowles who had a time of 26:53.84 for a 14th place finish and sophomore Dharen Kadiyala who came in 26th with a time of 27:28.85.
Sophomore Ethan Heywood of Iona College came in first at the Metro Championships with a finishing time of 25:53.71.
“I think this race sets us up for a strong and impressive performance at Oberlin next Saturday,” Oja said. “We just need to keep rolling through and continue to race smart and race strong, and hopefully we’ll continue to finish amongst the top.”
In the team scoring, the Fordham University Rams finished 18 points behind NYU’s 50 for second place, and the Columbia Lions rounded out the top three with 78 points.
“While we did outrun some [Division I] schools this weekend, this coming race will be a great indicator of our level on the [Division III] stage,” Karten said. “I really think that, if we keep our pack tight and run smart, we will be competing for a podium at nationals.”
The Violets will run next Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Oberlin Invitational in Oberlin, Ohio.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 4 print edition. Mary Jane Dumankaya is deputy sports editor. Email her at [email protected]