PORTLAND, Maine--The Coast Guard men's cross country team posted their first top ten finish at the Division III New England Championships since 2005 when they were ninth.
The Bears were lead by senior captain Gary Ezzo and freshman Zachary Velasquez covering the 8K course in 25:09 and 25:19 respectively. Ezzo's 17th place finish secured his second All-New England cross country honors in two years while Velasquez placed 27th also earning All-New England honors, but for the first time.
Coast Guard's third scoring runner was junior Jon Lash who placed 72nd and ran a time of 26:16. Close behind Lash was teammate Joey O'Connell in the 80th spot with a finish time of 26:23. Rounding out the final scoring five runners for the team's 10th place finish was senior captain Brad Pienta taking 91st overall and running a time of 26:29.
"Our guys went out aggressive today and had a very respectable finish among some of the top teams in the country," said Coast Guard head coach Ethan Brown. "Even though our team is wrapping up the season, I see this as a beginning point; something that we can build on and continue developing our team."
The men's team will wrap up their season and begin transitioning into the indoor track season while Ezzo and Velasquez await the final list of qualifiers for the NCAA Cross Country Championships to be hosted next Saturday in Hanover, IL.
Ezzo and Velasquez are among the top contenders to be considered for a qualifying spot for NCAA's, but are awaiting final word come Sunday, all of which is dependent upon how many teams qualify out of the New England Region.