by Shannon Gleba, Copy Editor
Throughout her fourth and final collegiate cross country season, senior Lisa Fajardo has continued to prove herself as an important asset to Manhattan College athletics.
In October, Fajardo participated in both the Metropolitan Championship, as well as the MAAC Championship. The Met Championship took place on Oct. 12 at Manhattan’s home course of Van Cortlandt Park, and MAAC Championships took place on Oct. 27 at The Crossing of Colonie course in Loudonville, N.Y.
Fajardo was the first female finisher at Met Championship, crossing the line of the 5k race in 17:55.2. In the MAAC Championship 6k race, Fajardo led the Jaspers by placing fifth of 149 runners, finishing with a time of 21:52.08.
The Quadrangle: What was it like to beat out 91 other competitors to win the Metropolitan Championship?
Lisa Fajardo: It was a really good feeling because I had never won a Metropolitan Championship before for cross country. So, it was really great.
TQ: How did you stay focused?
LF: Well, [Van Cortlandt Park] is our home course, so that’s where we do our workouts every week. So, I was just visualizing the workouts.
TQ: You were also less than two seconds off from your school record time for the race. Did the thought of setting a new record come into your mind at any point during the race?
LF: Yes, it always does, especially when you’re getting closer to the finish line. So, all you can do is really try and pick up as much speed as you can, but without any runners next to you, it is hard to pick up your speed at the end.
TQ: Both the Jasper men and women came in second place overall. What can you say about your teammates’ performances?
LF: A lot of people were battling injuries that whole week leading up, so I think they really went out there and they fought hard given the circumstances. I think you have to give a lot to them for coming out, even when they weren’t in their best shape.
TQ: Shifting over to the MAAC Championship, you came in fifth place out of 149 runners in the 6K. Can you take us through that race?
LF: It was very cold that day and it was raining, so the weather was not the best, but I still went out there and I put myself in position to possibly win. Didn’t work out that way, but I fought my hardest.
TQ: What are your thoughts on Hali Ielfield who finished in 12th and earned the MAAC Most Outstanding Rookie title?
LF: She is doing so great this year and I think she has so many more great things to come even this year as a freshman. I don’t think I would be performing as well as I have been this season if it weren’t for her pushing me so hard.
TQ: You still have NCAA Regionals and ECAC/IC4As before you wrap up for the cross country season. Are there any final goals you have in these next few weeks?
LF: Well, if you place well at Regionals, you get to go to Nationals, so it’s kind of a longshot but there is still a chance. So, I am going to try as hard as I can there. If you don’t make nationals, then we have ECACs and I would like to finish my last collegiate cross country race as strong as possible.
TQ: How are you feeling about wrapping up your cross country career at Manhattan?
LF: Really sad. I thought I would be ready to finish this year, but I feel like I don’t know what I am going to do without it.