The Sacred Heart University (SHU) men’s and women’s cross country teams are off to the races in 2022. The Pioneers have competed in three meets so far and have been led by freshman Christian Savage on the men’s side and junior Jessica Pigott on the women’s side.
Sacred Heart placed 5th in the Father Bede Invitational in Tyrone, P.A on Sept. 2. and 7 at the Shawn M. Nassaney Invitational in Smithfield, R.I. on Sept. 10. For the men’s team, Savage has led them in time at both meets. The Manalapan, N.J. native finished with a time of 20:40.90 and 16:39.5, respectively.
“I’m definitely not satisfied, but it’s stuff to work with,” said Savage. “Individually I have a lot to give, and I am not satisfied, but content where I am right now with still a lot to prove.”
While Sacred Heart has a young roster, Savage hopes as the season progresses the team will reach its stride at the right time.
“I think we are just getting started as the year progresses,” said Savage. “We have a lot of young guys and we have so much potential to grow over the years,”
The Pioneers are led by Coach Christian Morrison, who has preached team effort to his runners.
“Our coach has preached working together in races and in practices, always working off of someone, working as a whole,” said Savage. “Even though it’s individual and you’re out there by yourself, you also have your team behind you that has your back.”
As for the women’s team, they placed 8th in the Father Bede Invitational and then 5th at the Shawn M. Nassaney Invitational. Despite missing her first two cross country seasons due to Covid-19 and then injury, Pigott finished with a time of 20:18.10 and then 19:50.40 in those meets.
“The season’s been going pretty well, but I have high expectations and hope to achieve them,” said Pigott. “This is my first real college cross country season, so it’s like a fresh start.”
When it comes to the team aspect, Pigott believes the team needs to grow together in order to find success.
“We need to just keep growing and improving each week,” said Pigott. “Coach will want us running together, as it keeps everyone pushing together and we can block off other teams.”
The Pioneers continued their season at the Ted Owen Invitational in New Britain, C.T. on Sept. 24 where they placed 10th. Savage once again led the men with a time of 28:10.00 while Pigott placed 19th overall and led the women with a 19:10.00 running time.
The Pioneers will be back in action on Oct. 8 at the New England Cross Country Championships in Boston.
Sacred Heart Athletics and Riley Souza contributed to this article.