The men’s and women’s cross-country teams are off to a strong start this season after an impressive performance in their dual meet at the University of Southern Maine (USM) on Saturday.

Sam Seekins ’14, Coby Horowitz ’14, Greg Talpey ’14, Nick Saba ’14, and Kevin Hoose ’15 all finished in the top-six, within 23 seconds of each other.   

For the first mile and a half of the race, the lead pack included two USM runners and eight Polar Bears, before Seekins, Horowitz, and the top USM runner pulled away from the main group. In the final 800 meters, Seekins and Horowitz left the USM runner behind to cross the finish line in first and second place, with Seekins finishing only six seconds ahead of Horowitz.

“The 5K race is shorter than our usual distance at this time of the year.” Coach Peter Slovenski said. “It’s good to have a race where we work on speed a little bit because in our workouts we’ve been working on strength mostly, on hills and in longer workouts.”

The women’s team participated in a 5K exhibition scrimmage at USM. Olivia MacKenzie ’13, Madelena Rizzo ’14, Lucy Skinner ’16, Maggie Bryan ’15, and Koko Novak ’16 all finished in under 21 minutes.

“The women’s team had a lot of depth, with our top-eight all being within 60 seconds of each other,” said Slovenski.

The Polar Bears will compete at the Wesleyan Invitational next weekend. According to Slovenski, Wesleyan, Connecticut College, Amherst, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy have some of the top runners in New England’s D-III, which will make for a challenging race for the Polar Bears.