ORONO – No Ben True, no problem for Dartmouth.
Even without its junior standout and former Greely of Cumberland Center star, the Big Green ran roughshod over the University of Maine cross country course at Saturday’s Murray Keatinge Invitational.
The 23rd-ranked Big Green of Hanover, N.H., notched 40 points to earn the men’s team crown. The University of New Hampshire was second with 67, Texas Tech third with 91, UMaine fourth with 99 and Stony Brook rounded out the top five with 106.
Texas Tech cruised to victory in the women’s field with 27 points. New Hampshire’s 94 points was good for second, Dartmouth finished third with 110, Saint Francis Xavier of Nova Scotia fourth with 111 and Vermont’s 122 rounded out the top five.
Maine finished seventh in the 10-team field with 165 points, and fourth among America East teams.
In the men’s race, Dartmouth coach Barry Hartwick said he held True out of the race as he was feeling ill.
“Ben’s been sick all week, and I thought I’d just hold him off a little bit,” Hartwick said. “He actually ran a workout on the course this morning. If this had been a championship meet, you would’ve seen him out there.”
Dartmouth and New Hampshire were fairly even through the first three runners, but the Big Green’s fourth and fifth men finished 10th and 13th compared to 20th and 24th for the Wildcats.
“We told our guys to try to run with other people on the team if they could,” Hartwick said. “It was an important race for us because we needed to have a chance to run really hard.”
Hartwick’s top two runners, Steve Mucchetti and Pat Dooley, finished third and seventh for Dartmouth, however, Hartwick feels the mid-pack runners need to move closer to the front.
“We still need to get a couple other guys closer to where those first two are at,” he said.
UMaine was led by senior Kirby Davis’ fourth-place finish, and although his Black Bears were running on tired legs, coach Mark Lech had plenty be happy about.
“We’re kind of in the middle of things and so I can see some legs tired,” he said. “I’m actually ok with how we did, I know there is work to be done, but overall I’m happy.”
Josh Trevino captured 15th place and Donny Drake 18th for the Black Bears.
Texas Tech’s Kevin Chelimo took the individual title in 24 minutes, 13.53 seconds over 8 kilometers.
In the women’s race, the heavily favored Red Raiders took care of business, tucking four runners in the top 10 and five in the top 13.
Sally Kipyego obliterated the 5-kilometer course in 16:11.82, setting a new meet record. Irene Kimaiyo was second for the Red Raiders in 16:51.05, Violet Chemakwila in fourth and Gladys Kipsang in seventh.
Asia Diaz rounded out Tech’s scorers, finishing 13th.
Maine’s top runner, freshman Jessica Belliveau, ran to a 17th-place finish in 18:02.52, which is a personal record, according to Lech.
“She PR’d by quite a bit, I think she ran 18:15 last time or something like that,” he said. “I gotta be happy with that.”
He added that the presence of fast runners in the field, such as Kipyego, led to faster times from runners in the middle of the pack.
“Obviously when you get the level of talent that’s here, there is enough talent to make your adrenaline go,” the coach said.
He was also impressed with the efforts of Kipyego, a native of Kenya.
“I had looked at their results and knew they were going to have someone really fast,” Lech said. “I think everybody kind of backed off her and let her go, she’s very talented.”
UMaine’s other scorers were Elonnai Hickok in 28th, Hana Pelletier in 37th, Shelby Howe in 40th and Jolene Belanger in 44th.