Ciolkowski’s Win Highlights Elon Cross Country Opener

ELON, N.C. – Sophomore Nick Ciolkowski’s victory in the men’s 6K race highlighted the season opening meet for the Elon University cross country teams at the third annual Elon Opener on Thursday evening, Sept. 1, at the Phoenix’s cross country course.

Picking up where he left off from his freshman campaign where he earned the Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Athlete and Rookie of the Year awards, Ciolkowski cruised his way to a win in the men’s 6K with a 18:32 in the race. The Fairport, N.Y., native finished over 20 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Vinny Tordaro from High Point, while also edging out three runners in the top 10 from the University of North Carolina.

In the women’s race, senior Kimberly Johansen was the top finisher for the Phoenix with a time of 14:16 in the 4K run. The Chelmsford, England, native was third overall while first-year teammate Sophia Tasselmyer was fourth with a time of 14:21. The pair were sandwiched between a couple of runners from UNC who took the top two spots and the fifth and sixth positions.

Greg Paugh was the next runner up for the Phoenix in the men’s race with a time of 19:51 and was 19th. Michael Germinario was next with a time of 19:59 followed by newcomers Richie Kasper (20:05) and Andrew Dyer (20:10) to round out the top five for the maroon and gold.

On the women’s side, Carolyn Hopkins was seventh for the Phoenix women with a time of 14:39. Freshman Melissa Anastasakis was 10th with a 15:02 performance while another first year, Grace Dellapa, rounded out the top five with her time of 15:38 in 16th. Both of Elon’s squads raced only half of their full teams for the meet.

UNC won the meet on both sides with the women posting 23 points compared to 40 for the Phoenix. High Point (93), Coastal Carolina (100) and UNCG (109) followed in the top five for the women. The Tar Heel men had 41 points to beat out High Point, who had 60 as the runner-up. UNCG (90), Coastal Carolina (95) and Elon (100) all finished in the top five in the men’s standings.

Elon will be back in action next weekend for the eighth annual Elon Invitational on Sept. 10. The meet starts with the men’s 8K at 10 a.m. while the women’s 5K follows at 11 a.m.