An all-day travel fiasco on Friday wasn’t enough to slow down the No. 28 Columbia Lions on Saturday morning, as the Light Blue took on great competition at the Greater Louisville Classic and came out second, ahead of No. 6 Texas as well as other notable programs like Missouri, Georgia, host Louisville and Arizona.
The only team to beat the Lions was another Gotham rival — the No. 8 Iona Gaels of New Rochelle, N.Y. The final scores were: 1. Iona, 47; 2. Columbia, 109; 3. Missouri, 149; 4. Texas, 164 (no Merber); 5. Georgia, 186; 6. Louisville, 199; 7. Arizona, 234; and 8. Michigan State, 244.
The most impressive aspect of the race was the early-season speed of Arizona’s Lawi Lalang and Stephen Sambu, who were 1-2. Lalang finished in 22:33.6, less than three seconds ahead of Sambu. Only one runner — Greensboro’s Paul Chelimo — finished in the following minute (22:59.6).
For Columbia, it was impressive pack running with just a 21-second gap among its scorers. Junior Jake Sienko was first for the Lions (15th, 24:08.2), followed by senior Leighton Spencer (18th), junior Nico Composto (23rd), senior Mike Murphy (24th) and senior Mark Feigen (30th). Spencer tweeted, “We cliqued up in the ‘Ville.”
“I could not be more pleased with the way our men competed today. We thought we were much improved from last year and the race today strongly supported such, “said Columbia Coach Willy Wood.