When the men of the Binghamton University Running Club (BURC) took third at last year’s National Intercollegiate Running Club Association (NIRCA) Cross Country Northeast Regional Championship, they left an impression. The third place finish in 2014 was, at that point, the best finish in program history. That young squad, which included no graduating seniors or graduate students, returned to the Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, Massachusetts this past weekend with a different, higher set of expectations. The team met those expectations, capturing the 2015 championship.
“This year’s finish was obviously the best in program history,” said BURC co-president and senior majoring in geography Blane Bossung . “We kind of expected to win based on the competition. The teams who defeated us last year graduated a bunch of graduate students and seniors. We had a young team last year, everyone returned and we were able to come back and take the win.”
Led by Mitchell Abrams, a junior majoring in linguistics, the BU men swept the podium. Abrams completed the 8,000-meter course in a time of 27:03.90. BURC co-president and junior Jigar Gosalia finished three seconds later (27:06.80), followed by Zachary Malik, who completed the course in a time of 27:22.50. Junior Kyle Loftus rounded out the top four finishers for the Bearcats, finishing in ninth position with a time of 28:11.50.
”The three of us that were in the front of the pack, we really worked off each other,” Abrams said. “I think we all felt good. It seemed to all come together that day. All our hard work from the summer paid off.”
The Bearcat men, led by the trio of Abrams, Gosalia and Malik, secured the overall team title, tallying 30 points. BU was trailed by UConn with 66 points and Northeastern with 91.
Despite their club status, some of BURC’s runners might have the capacity to match some of their varsity counterparts.
“In theory, one-two-three here are NCAA level times,” Bossung said.
On the women’s side, Binghamton’s top finisher was Elise Dunshee who finished 23rd overall with a time of 26:12.04. Dunshee was followed by Bethany Browne and Julie Raab who completed the 6,000-meter course in 26:28.25 and 26:42.59, placing 27th and 29th respectively.
BURC will once again find themselves in the position to leave an impression when they compete at the NIRCA XC National Championships. Having the chance to prove themselves to their competitors is just the challenge they enjoy being faced with.
“I think the key to our success was the bonds between our team,” Abrams said. “We want to train with each other and compete. We’re all on the same wavelength. We’re looking forward to nationals since we did so well at regionals, it’s definitely more competitive but we’re just going to do our best and see what happens.”
The Binghamton Running Club is set to return to action at the NIRCA XC Nationals on November 14 in Lexington, Kentucky.