Last weekend, the cross country teams traveled to Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. for the New York State Collegiate Track and Field Conference Cross Country Championships hosted by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The women’s team left its mark, tying for sixth place of 16 teams – a significant improvement over last year’s performance. The men’s team, essentially running a ‘B’ team, didn’t fare quite as well, placing 10th out of 15 teams.

The women were led by senior Kellie Hasselwander, who placed 13th in the field of 142 runners with a time of 18:14 on the 5-kilometer course. Hasselwander’s performance at the University Athletic Association Championships earned her the honor of NYSCTC Runner of the Week for the week of Oct. 27.

The four ensuing runners for the Yellowjackets crossed the finish line within 23 seconds of each other. The second scorer for UR was sophomore Lisa Cole, who placed 40th, clocking in at 19:08. Next for the ‘Jackets was sophomore Sadie Gollub, finishing in 19:20 for 49th place. Just behind her was senior Laura Richenderfer, crossing the line at 19:23 to come in 51st. The final scoring runner was sophomore Heather Graham, who placed 59th overall with a time of 19:31.

The displacers were junior Lauren Jewett at 81st and sophomore Suzanne Giunta at 97th with times of 20:01 and 20:27, respectively.

The women tallied 189 points to tie with Nazareth College. They were just 14 points behind fifth-place SUNY Brockport. Last year, the Yellowjackets placed 13th of 17 teams. The winner of the meet was SUNY Geneseo with 31 points. Geneseo was ranked fourth in the country by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Oct. 17. Also competing in the race were Ithaca College and St. Lawrence College, who were ranked 15th and 25th, respectively, in the same poll.

The course featured a mostly trailed terrain with some grassy areas and one large hill.

The men’s team ran somewhat of a ‘B’ team on Saturday, resting the top runners in preparation for this week’s NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships. Junior Tom Brekke, who is often a displacer for the team, was the first to cross the finish line. He placed 33rd in a field of 144 with a time of 26:32 on the 8-kilometer course.

“Tom always performs well in the postseason, and he’s really stepped up to round out the top seven,” junior Dan Chebot said.

Chebot was the next runner to come in for the ‘Jackets. He finished 45th overall with a time of 26:52.

Not only were the top runners rested by not running in the state meet, but multiple freshmen were also granted the chance to gain some experience in running in a large meet. Freshman Daniel Lane was just five seconds behind Chebot and third to cross the finish line for UR, placing 51st with a time of 26:57. Fellow freshman Frank Ramirez was the next scorer for the team, crossing the line at 27:48 for 86th place. The final scoring member of the team was junior Ezra Milby, who came in 90th with a time of 27:59.

The two displacers for the Yellowjackets were also freshmen. Andrew Lee and Craig Baumgartner finished 95th and 113th, respectively, with times of 28:12 and 28:41.

UR totaled 264 points for their 10th-place finish. The winner of the men’s race was also Geneseo with 56 points, who was last ranked 17th in the USTFCCCA poll. SUNY Cortland, who placed fourth in the race, was last ranked sixth in the same poll, and St. Lawrence, who placed second, was last ranked 13th.

At this weekend’s meet, the top runners will return ready to take on the competition. Additionally, senior Mark Stevens, who did not run at UAAs due to injury, is planning to return.

Chebot is hopeful of the Yellowjackets’ performance this weekend.

“Some of the top teams are starting to show signs of wear,” Chebot said.

This weekend both teams head back to Van Cortlandt Park to compete in the Regional Championships hosted by New York University. They competed on the same course earlier in the season, meaning they will be better prepared to run the courses. They must place in the top five in order to advance to the National Championships, hosted by St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.

Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.



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