By From the Lowell Sun
BOSTON -- Sophomore Ruben Sanca led two teammates among the top 11 places as the UMass Lowell men's cross country team won the New England Championship on Saturday afternoon at Franklin Park.
The River Hawks became the first-ever Division 2 or 3 team to win the title in the race's history, a history that dates back to 1912.
"We needed all five runners to run as well as they could, pretty much," said UML head coach Gary Gardner. "You had to have the 'perfect storm' of races. Our goal was to finish in the top four."
UMass Lowell scored a 76 (5, 10, 11, 23, 27), and defeated the likes of Boston College (145) and Brown (166). The University of Connecticut placed fourth with 177 points, while Quinnipiac took fifth with 177.
Bowdoin College otherwise led the Division 2-3 contingent, finishing 10th with 275 points. The race drew 45 teams and 307 runners.
Only 31 seconds separated UML's top five runners.
Sanca completed the 10K course in fifth place with a time of 24:51, while senior Steve Plouffe (Methuen) and sophomore Rex Radloff placed 10th and 11th, respectively. Plouffe covered the course in 25:05, while Radloff finished in 25:08.
Senior Jason Beausoleil (Dracut) placed 23rd (24th overall) in 25:19 while junior Joey DeWitt placed 28th/27th in 25:22.
"To win a race of this caliber, you have to be good and lucky," Gardner added. "Normally, we don't have enough depth whereas teams like Boston College and Boston University have that depth to compensate if something goes wrong. We had to run just right to pull it off, and we did."
Rounding out UML's top seven were sophomore Josh Vance (Nashua, N.H.), who placed 162nd/165th in 26:39; and freshman Steve O'Brien (Groton) placed 183rd/179th in 26:52.