The Ionian

Cross Country

The men’s team are going for their 32nd MAAC title in a row this year, while the women are hoping to win their 6th in a row and 16th out of the last 17.  

Cross-country off to hot start

Jason Piccolomini, Staff Writer October 9, 2022

Iona’s cross-country teams have been powerhouses for the last few decades.     In the school’s history, the Gaels have captured 36 MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Championships for...

    Iona’s track and field team has carried a reputation for being a Northeast juggernaut for the past few decades.  


Every year, the Gaels recruit top runners from all over the country and all over the world to wear maroon and gold. 


 Sophie Murphy and Ehab El-Sandali are two international runners that are among the most accomplished in Iona history. 


          Hailing from Ireland, Murphy is a graduate student and is coming off a season that saw her add to her already impressive resume.  


Last year, Murphy took home a MAAC Student Athlete of the Year Award. Murphy’s performance last season granted her an invitation to the NCAA XC Championships in Tallahassee, Florida. 


          In the past, Murphy has been named to several MAAC All-Academic Teams. She has placed high in several events throughout her college career, including a victory in the 10,000-meter at the 2019 MAAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. 


          Although she does not have cross country eligibility this upcoming season, Murphy will still be training for the track season in hopes of retaining her indoor 5k MAAC title. She is optimistic for herself and her team this season. 


          “I’m excited to see what my team can do this year,” Murphy said. “We have a great group of girls who are training well, and I’m sure they’ll have an amazing season.” 


          Even though Murphy’s Iona career will soon end, she feels good knowing she is making a lasting impact. 


          “It’s an honor to know that I could have that sort of impact on such a successful program,” Murphy said. “I am really grateful to have had coaches help me accomplish everything I have here at Iona.” 


          El-Sandali, a graduate student representing Canada, had similar success to Murphy last season. Like Murphy, El-Sandali was a MAAC Student Athlete of the Year while also competing at the NCAA XC Championships.  


El-Sandali was named an All-American after finishing 25th at the event and set numerous Iona top-10 times last season. El-Sandali has won several events in the past including the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter at last year’s MAAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. 


 El-Sandali’s record-breaking year led him to being named a recipient of the Joseph O’Connell Award, which goes out to outstanding Iona athletes, and being named MAAC’s Most Outstanding Track Performer. 


          El-Sandali has no plans of ending his dominance any time soon. One of his main motivations is the thought of how successful he can truly become. 


          “What motivates me is finding out how far I can go in the sport, and leave no stone unturned,” El-Sandali said. “I enjoy getting the best out of myself and seeing my progress throughout the years, but I never feel like I’m at my best.” 


          Running will continue to be a major part of El-Sandali’s life post-Iona, and he plans to run professionally after graduation. 


          “My short-term plan consists of joining a professional running team based in the United States,” El-Sandali said. “My long-term plans consist of making Olympics/IAAF World Championship teams and representing Canada to the best of my ability.” 


Last year was the first year the men’s xc team failed to qualify for NCAA Nationals since 2001.

Murphy and El-Sandali named MAAC student-athletes of year

Jason Piccolomini, Staff Writer September 8, 2022

    Iona’s track and field team has carried a reputation for being a Northeast juggernaut for the past few decades.     Every year, the Gaels recruit top runners from all over the country...

 El-Sandali was named the MAAC’s Most Oustanding Track Performer in 2021. 

Runner ends Iona XC career on high note

Giovanni Paolo Tagliafierro, Sports Editor December 9, 2021

From Sudan to Lebanon to Canada, Ehab El-Sandali has made a lasting mark on a storied Iona sports program right here in New Rochelle.     Iona’s success on the cross-country course is evident...

Alfaro Monge was the first Iona men’s player to win the award since Juan Alcantara in 2017.

Triple threat: Three Gaels notch MAAC weekly awards

Giovanni Paolo Tagliafierro, Sports Editor October 7, 2021

Iona goalkeepers Emma Havrilla and Juan Alfaro Monge earned Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week, while Lachlan Wellington grabbed MAAC Runner of the Week to cap off a successful...

Cross country finished as the top team in the Northeast Region last year.

Cross country finding stride after second meet

Giovanni Paolo Tagliafierro, Sports Editor September 23, 2021

The Iona men and women’s cross-country team’s 2021 season is underway, with junior Lachlan Wellington taking first in their most recent race at the Br. John “Paddy” Doyle Meet of Champions...

Freshman Nick Sinofsky running during the  Metropolitan Championships on April 9th at Icahn Stadium.

Gaels wrap up Metropolitan Championships

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor April 22, 2021

The Iona College track and field team finished their meet at the Metropolitan Championships on April 9.   This is the third event finished for the women’s side and the fourth finished for the men’s...

Graduate Student Jack O’Leary received the United States Track and Field Coaches and Cross Country Coaches Association Fred Tootell Award for his performances this season. This is given to the best male runner in the northeast.

Iona cross country continues domination in MAAC, finishes 10th at NCAA

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor March 25, 2021

The Iona College men’s and women’s cross country teams have defended their titles in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. It’s the 30th-straight title for men’s cross country and fifth for women’s.  In...

Iona College cross country and track and field assistant coach Christine Eisenberg specializes in the steeplechase event. // Photos used courtesy of

Christine Eisenberg discusses her career, hopes for Gaels

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor November 15, 2020

Iona College announced the addition of former La Salle University cross country and track and field assistant coach Christine Eisenberg.  Eisenberg had a successful career as a student-athlete with...

Iona Alumna receives Arthur Ashe Jr. Award

Iona Alumna receives Arthur Ashe Jr. Award

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor September 18, 2020

Class of ’20 Iona College graduate Tamantha Pizarro has received the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award after graduating with a 3.65 GPA.  The award is given by the NCAA to students of...

Senior Egle Morenaite earned the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-American award in the 2019-20 season. / Photo courtesy of

Morenaite chosen for decade, anniversary teams

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor September 18, 2020

Senior Egle Morenaite has been chosen for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference 40th anniversary team and was voted for the Iona College women’s cross-country 2010s All-Decade team.  Morenaite has...

Graduate student Kaitlyn Ohrtman finished first in the mile run preliminaries at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, followed by third in the same event’s finals. // Photo courtesy of ICgaels.

Ohrtman explores new goals during her final season

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor September 1, 2020

While there’s a lot of discussion around struggles incoming students have to bear in an online-only environment, the students who are in their final year having to miss out on their last chance to...

Solis’ plans for international glory sidetracked

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor May 15, 2020

Iona College senior Gerom Solis is one of the many athletes affected by the widespread cancellation of sports worldwide, but in a different way compared to his teammates. Solis has run for the Gaels...

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Cross Country