STANDISH, Maine – Johnson & Wales University totaled 44 team points to win the 2014 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men's Cross Country Championship on a soggy Saturday afternoon at Saint Joseph's College.
In one of the most closely-contested men's championships in recent memory, the Wildcats edged Norwich University by just one point to claim the program's fifth GNAC title in the last seven seasons and first since 2011. Johnson & Wales fielded three of the top four runners, including sophomore Adam Sachs (Ellicott City, Md.), who won the race with a 28:09 performance.
Saint Joseph's finished third with 67 points, Emmanuel College was fourth with 85 points, and Lasell College rounded out the top five grouping with 119 team points. Suffolk University (186 points), Rivier University (200) and Mount Ida College (212) also placed in the annual championship while Anna Maria College competed in the event but did not score.
Individually, Emmanuel junior Sean Colford (Epping, N.H.) – the 2013 GNAC champion – sprinted the last 60 yards to pass Johnson & Wales sophomore Harold Hennessey (Bolton, Conn.) at the finish line and earned runner-up honors with a 28:12 time. Wildcats sophomore Alex Melnick (Port Jervis, N.Y.) placed fourth with a 28:19 effort and Saint Joseph's sophomore Nick Shuckrow (Winslow, Maine) finished fifth after touring the 8K course in 28:35.
As the race-winner, Sachs collects GNAC Runner of the Year honors while Saint Joseph's freshman Lucas Fisher (Strafford, N.H.), who placed sixth with a 28:45 time, claimed GNAC Rookie of the Year accolades after finishing as the top first-year runner. Johnson & Wales Head Coach Hollie Walton was selected as the GNAC Coach of the Year by a vote of his peers.
Anna Maria College had just three runners and did not record a team score. Freshman Patrick Clarke (Pomfret, Conn.) paced the AMCATS with a 40th-place finish in a time of 32:28. Dan Jodrey (Paxton, Mass.) was two slots behind Clarke with a time of 32:56, while Brandon Andexler (Enfield, Conn.) was the 51st runner to cross the finish line with a time of 36:11.