The following recap of the 2022 Marist mens cross country season is a part of Center Field’s efforts to highlight teams on campus that haven’t been covered as frequently in the past.
As many of the runners here at Marist have shifted their focus toward the ongoing winter track and field season, the time has come to recap how the mens team performed during the 2022 fall cross country season.
Marist Invitational (Sept. 3, Vassar Farms):
Mens 6k Results:
It was an excellent season-opening race for the men on the shorter 6k course, with the team finishing in first place while representing the College admirably at its own invitational race. The highlight was senior Ramsey Little’s record-breaking performance; his time of 18:32.6 set a new Vassar Farms course record.
The top five finishers for Marist were as follows: Little, who came in first overall; junior Christopher Paxis, who came in second overall at 18:59; junior Tyler Perry, who came in fourth overall at 19:21.9; sophomore Gabriel Rodriguez, who came in eighth overall at 19:32.3; and freshman Kieran Donnelly, who came in ninth overall at 19:33.7.
The result was particularly impressive for Perry, who made his cross country debut in this meet after playing soccer in high school and whose running experience started with track events.
The top-five placeholders for the Red Foxes combined for a score of 24, by far the lowest of the day: Iona finished in second with a score of 44, while Siena came in third with 75 points.
Siena Invitational (Sept. 10, Loudonville, NY):
Mens 8k Results:
The Red Foxes followed up their opening race victory with a sixth-place finish at Siena out of 14 teams in the longer 8k race. RPI led the way with their top-five placeholders combining for 44 points, while Marist finished with 156 combined points for their top-five finishers.
In comparison to other MAAC teams, the Red Foxes as a team placed ahead of Mount St. Mary’s, Quinnipiac, Fairfield, and Manhattan, while trailing Rider (110 points) and Siena (69 points).
With Little sitting out for this race, Paxis paced the Red Foxes, finishing first on the team and placing eighth overall with a time of 25:36.5. Rodriguez served as the second fiddle on this day, coming in 29th at 26:06.7, while Perry (37th, 26:15.3) and Donnelly (43rd, 26:23.7) were also in the vicinity.
Ted Owen Invitational (Sept. 24, New Britain, CT):
Mens 8k Results:
Despite a multitude of regulars not racing, Marist got by with fourth overall as a team. The Red Foxes notched a combined score of 95 for their top-five finishers, which was the third-best score on the day. Central Connecticut had the winning score with 33 points, and both Merrimack and New Haven tied at 70 points apiece.
It was senior Brendan Dearie stepping up to finish first for the team on the day, placing eighth overall at 26:28.6. Junior John Ignacz also finished just inside of the top 20, coming in 19th while running 26:59.4.
Three more Marist runners were knotted together shortly thereafter, with freshman Jack Dovaras coming in 24th at 27:09, freshman Christopher Walsh coming in 25th at 27:13, and senior John Kittredge coming in 27th at 27:15.3.
Paul Short Run (Sept. 30, Bethlehem, PA):
Mens 8k Results:
Facing their stiffest competition of the season to this point, the men finished 36th overall out of 46 schools in the Men’s College Gold Race. North Carolina had the winning score with 64 points as the only school to notch a score below 100 in the big race. Marist finished the day with a top-fived combined score of 942.
Returning to the fold was Little, and he slid back into his role as Marist’s lead runner seamlessly with a record-breaking performance.
“[Little] ran the fastest time in school history for the 8k, which is the standard distance for cross country, and he did it by a lot,” Director of men’s and women’s cross country Pete Colaizzo said. “He ran 23:34; the previous best time was 24:23, so that was huge.”
Little’s historic run still had him placed at just 39th overall, displaying the sheer talent the program was up against. Paxis returned to his role in the two-spot for Marist, coming in 188th overall at 24:37. Dearie followed up his temporary role as the lead Marist runner from the week prior by finishing in third behind Paxis, as he placed 262nd overall at 25:01.9.
IC4A Championships (Oct. 14, Van Cortlandt Park, the Bronx NY):
Mens 8k Results:
Facing another challenging slate of opponents, the Red Foxes notched a middle-of-the-pack finish, coming in 16th overall out of 31 teams. Marist put up a combined top-five score of 447; the winner on the day was Princeton, who rode first, second, and fourth-place finishes to an elite score of 33.
With Little facing health issues (Colaizzo described him as being “very sick lately”), Paxis stepped back into the number-one role, coming in 68th overall and running a time of 25:35.2. Rodriguez stepped up to finish second on the team while placing 92nd overall at 25:53.1.
“[Paxis] was as consistent as they come as our number two guy, or when Ramsey was not on, he was our number one guy,” Colaizzo said. “Pax had a really really solid season… If [Little] weren’t on the team, [Paxis] would’ve been considered one of our strongest lead runners in school history.”
Senior Daniel Czop rounded out the top three with a time of 26:11.4, placing him at 122nd overall, while Perry finished less than two seconds behind him. Little had his worst performance of the season amidst his struggles with injuries and illness, coming in 7th for Marist at 26:40 and 168th overall
CCSU Mini Meet (Oct. 21, New Britain, CT):
Mens 5k Results:
It was an eighth-place finish for Marist with many primary runners out of the lineup for the shorter 5k race. The trio of Czop (32nd, 15:31.5), Walsh (44th, 15:40.6), and Kittredge (53rd, 16:05.3) emerged to lead the way for the Red Foxes.
MAAC Championships (Oct. 29, Colonie, NY)
Mens 8k Results:
With their top runners well rested for the team’s most important meet to date, the Red Foxes performed strongly, finishing third in the MAAC out of the 11-team conference. Iona’s top five combined for 17 points to win it all, and Siena also finished ahead of Marist, as their top five combined for 61 points. Rider (100 points) finished only four points behind Marist, putting them in fourth place.
Little, still battling illness and some nagging injuries, gutted out a ninth-place finish with a time of 24:30.5, cementing his All-MAAC Team honors for the 2022 season. It was the second time he finished a season with that distinction in his career. His ascension as a runner has been incredible in the eyes of Colaizzo.
“In high school, [Little] only ran cross country, he never ran track… the fact that he came from a background where he didn’t run year-round to what he’s done here at Marist is really remarkable,” Colaizzo said.
“It’s very gratifying to see what he’s done. He works hard, he puts in the mileage, he’s had some injury and illness issues, but when he is on, I am telling you there is nobody better.”
Paxis finished his season on a high note, coming in at 16th overall at 25:03; this race concluded his year, as he wound up being unable to run in regionals due to a foot injury. From there, Rodriguez (23rd, 25:23), Czop (27th, 25:30), and Donnelly (31st, 25:36) completed the top five for Marist, with Czop’s finish proving vital to the Red Foxes’ third-place finish
“[Czop’s finish], especially over the last three kilometers of that race, really elevated us from fourth place to third place,” Colaizzo said.
Donnelly’s performance resulted in him walking away with MAAC All-Rookie Team honors, as he was the fourth freshman to finish the race.
“[Donnelly] had about as good a freshman year as any athlete I’ve coached in all this time,” Colaizzo said.
NCAA Northeast Regionals (Nov. 11, Van Cortlandt Park, the Bronx NY):
Mens 10k Results:
A season filled with challenges for the team’s leading runner ended on the highest of high notes: Little finished 14th overall in the region, earning All Northeast-Region honors. Running the longer 10k course, his 29:49.8 time was the fastest in school history for that distance. Not only that, but his placement was also the highest in school history at regionals.
“I’ve been coaching for 32 years, and that was the greatest single season of any mens cross country runner in school history, and the school history goes back almost 60 years,” Colaizzo said.
“[Little] had been sick and injured going into that [MAAC Championships] race. While he finished ninth, that was not a good race for him, so to bounce back after the MAAC meet was awesome.”
Rodriguez (132nd, 32:06.4), Donnelly (135th, 32:08.8), and Perry (147th, 32:36.4) slotted in behind Little with Paxis sitting out due to his foot injury, and overall, the Red Foxes placed 21st out of 33 teams from the Northeast region.
Off of the Course:
Paxis was honored as the MAAC Conference Student-Athlete of the Week for the week of November 16th. In addition to his aforementioned accomplishments as the team’s second-best runner this past season, Paxis received this award in recognition of his athletic achievements.
As the recipient of the Greg Salamone Memorial Scholarship (a scholarship that is awarded to a standout distance runner at Marist), he has excelled academically while majoring in accounting. Paxis has made the MAAC All-Academic Team and the MAAC Academic Honor Roll multiple times, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how he has made the College’s Dean’s List on four separate occasions.
The praise didn’t stop there for Paxis, with Colaizzo referring to him as “a leader by example” for his efforts in helping the program meet its goals.
Fortunately for Colaizzo, he has a number of veteran runners such as Paxis who can continue to provide leadership during the ongoing track season.
Edited by Dan Aulbach and Jonathan Kinane
Photo from Marist Athletics via Stockton Photo