Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country Season Recap


Photo from

Team captains Sara DiGiovanna (left) and Dan Citardi (right).

JAMES MIRANDA, Sports Editor

If you asked this year’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams how they define the season, a majority would say it was a groundbreaking year that united the team together as a family.

The men’s team had lost runners and virtually met the bare minimum to compete, injuries affected both sides, and the final race of the season was everyone’s best race, according to Head Coach Alexander Bean.

The season was not so much defined by anything numerical or statistical, but on the advancement of the team and the program. From day one to the final race on November 8, the team became one cohesive unit.

“We were overwhelmed with how well we did,” sophomore Nicholas Pisano said. “You go in thinking sometimes the worst and then we really just had such a positive outcome from it.”

It started with their captains and veterans of the team and their setting examples for each other and the rest of the team. Having veterans that lead by example were invaluable assets to the teams this season and played much to their success.

According to the women’s captain, Sara DiGiovanna, this year was the best for Pace historically and personally.

“I think it was the best season Pace has had to date,” DiGiovanna said. “[Bean] is phenomenal and he really cares for us. I think that helped us all identify goals this season. I think that’s something the program really prides itself on, having someone that really cares about their athletes whether you’re the first or last runner.”

DiGiovanna was one of two runners who had a chance at nationals—something never achieved by a Pace runner. They didn’t qualify for nationals, however.

“It was an emotional day,” said DiGiovanna on missing out on nationals and her final race. “I was close and in contention, I gave it everything I had, and I’m not upset about it. If I was going to finish I wanted to go to nationals.”

DiGiovanna set the school record for the 5K race with an 18:58 and earned her first collegiate win. She also acted as the extra push for her teammates; sometimes making them run even though it was an off day.

“I give all the credit to [DiGiovanna],” said freshman Mariah Jno-Charles. “She helped me.”

The same is said for the men’s captain Dan Citardi. Without much experience, he came in and was the most consistent runner on the men’s team and leader by example.

“[Citardi’s] one of the strongest runners I’ve ran with,” Pisano said. “His head is always in the game from the starting line. Me, I’m one with anxiety on the line and he’ll be there to comfort that.”

However, no team is successful with just a veteran presence. Youth was present on the team too. Young runners like Jno-Charles, Nicholas Farris, and Marissa Cotroneo were impact runners that affected the season greatly.

Bean pointed specifically to people like Jno-Charles and Farris. Jno-Charles picked up five rookie of the week awards this season and ran impressive numbers such as running a 23:33 in the 6K race at the Paul Short Run on October 2.

There are also people like Farris, whom had teammates rave about some of the times he set despite being a first-year runner.

They were a dedicated group this year and they had fun racing, working, and supporting each other.

“I give these guys a lot of credit for being able to find fulfillment and enjoyment in the training,” Bean said. “They’re a really close-knit group. It’s great to see that they bond and it showed that they didn’t want to let each other down.”

But for now, it’s looking forward to the future. The team’s confident in everyway that they’ll improve and further the program. DiGiovanna thinks that with the talent currently on the team and with Bean leading the way, the future will be bright with possible recruits for both teams.

Things to improve upon are filling gaps that’ll be left as people end their careers, and offseason workouts and conditioning, according to Bean.

Jno-Charles expressed that experience might have been problem this season, but after this season’s success there will be enough experience.

“Once there’s a void in the leadership, people step up into that role,” Bean said. “I think somebody like [Cotroneo] will be a good team leader. They showed me over and over again that people will step up.”