Home is where the heart is. Truer words have never been said, as the men’s cross country team demonstrated at the UR Invitational held at Genesee Valley Park last weekend, completely dominating the field.
The men placed three runners in the overall top eight. All five of the top scoring Yellowjacket runners came in the top 15 of the 190 runners in the competition.
A sixth, seventh and eighth place sweep by senior Daniel Lane, junior James Vavra and senior Jon Pinto set the stage for the victory.
The three runners came across the tape in a span of only three seconds, creating a scoring block that, along with junior Jason Zayac and freshman Adam Pacheck, made the ’Jackets impossible to beat.
Since the Genesee Valley Park course is well traveled by the team during practices, they had a clear home field advantage which helped when claiming the first place spot.
UR finished with 47 points, 13 points behind McMaster University. The University of Western Ontario finshed with 73 points, SUNY Plattsburg with 79 and SUNY Geneseo with 152.
“The team as a whole is very proud of how we performed last weekend, Lane said. “We were up against some highly ranked teams in our region, and the victory really showed how strong our team is this year.”
Both the Yellowjacket teams will face some of the top teams in the nation in the next two weeks in the New York State Collegiate Track Conference Championships and University Athletic Association championships. If the teams can do well at these tournaments then they will solidify themselves as one of the best in the northeast.
For the women’s team, Saturday’s home invitational saw a finish in the middle of the team count, taking seventh place out of the 15 teams who were there.
Two of the Yellowjackets placed in the top 35 of the race and all five of the scoring runners finished within the top 57.
The finishes were toward the front of the 167 racers in the meet, but fell short of putting the team in scoring position for any of the top places.
The women finished with 201 points, behind first place McMaster University(19), University of Western Ontario(71), SUNY Geneseo(83), SUNY Plattsburgh(109), Mansfield University(159) and Laurentian University(170).
Junior Hillary Snyder finished first for the ’Jackets, placing 26th overall. Sophomore Zarah Quinn finished 35th and sophomore Meghan Ogle finished 41st.
Rounding out the top five were senior Megan O’Connor and freshman Katherine Thomas, with places of 55th and 75th, respectively.
“I felt we had a mixed bag of results,” head coach Barbara Hartwig said. “A handful of people ran pretty well. But overall I don’t believe we achieved what we are really capable of doing. We have had some extremely good workouts that show we should be running much faster. We will go back to square one and find a way to pull it together before our upcoming championship races. … I hope the team is motivated to show their real abilities in the next two weekends. We will face tough competition, so we need to be confident and ready to go.”
Clark is a member of the class of 2012.