Freshmen Shine For Brandywine In Cross Country Debuts

Aileen Flaherty, Catharine Mooney
Aileen Flaherty, Catharine Mooney

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. -- Freshman Brian Abel (Amesbury, Mass./Amesbury) became the first-ever Penn State Brandywine men's cross country runner to claim individual medalist honors, while classmate Catharine Mooney (Garnet Valley, Pa./Garnet Valley) was the runner-up during the women's race, highlighting the teams' 2018 debuts at the Delaware Valley University Invitational on Saturday morning.

Abel bested the 30-man field with a 6K time of 21:04, a pace of 6:47 per mile. His closest competitor crossed the finish line 44 seconds later.

Paced by Abel, all four Brandywine men placed in the top 12 on Saturday. Senior John Li (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby) ran to seventh in a time of 23:48, while freshman Ryan Cassidy (Aston, Pa./Sun Valley) and sophomore Brendan Cleary (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley) crossed the finish line in back-to-back positions, claiming 11th and 12th, respectively. Cassidy turned in a time of 24:21, edging Cleary by 33 seconds.

Both of Brandywine's women's runners posted top-10 finishes led by Mooney's second-place showing. Mooney completed the 6K course in 27:10, 58 seconds off the pace of Juliette Fedoroff of FDU-Florham, the women's individual champion. Her mark was the fifth-fastest 6K time in program history.

Aileen Flaherty (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley) was the 10th runner to cross the finish line. During her first college race, she ran to a time of 32:27, finishing in the top half of the 21-woman field.

Brandywine is back in action next Saturday at the Dutchman Invitational hosted by Lebanon Valley College. The women's race begins at 10:15 am, while men's race follows at 11:00 am.