The men’s cross country team continued their hot streak this past weekend at the New York State Collegiate Track Conference cross country championships in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Meanwhile, the women’s team bounced back after a lackluster finish two weeks ago at the annual UR Cross Country Invitational in Genesee Valley Park and finished in fourth.
The men’s team placed all five of their runners in the top 11. UR’s first man across the line, senior Brian Lang, finished third overall in a field of 93 runners with a time of 25:22. He was followed shortly by junior James Vavra, senior Dan Lane, junior Jason Zayac and senior Craig Baumgartner in sixth, eighth, 10th and 11th place, respectively. Host Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scored 79 points to take third place, while the Yellowjackets totaled 38 points for second.
The winning team, St. Lawrence University, scored 19 points to clinch their victory. Despite losing to St. Lawrence, the men’s team came closer to their rivals than they have in the past.
“The whole team ran well, and we were able to finish closer to St. Lawrence than we did at pre-regionals some five or six weeks ago,” Lang said. “We continually perform well and each week we make it clear that we are a strong team and a threat to any other team we race. Our goal is to continue this trend.”
The women’s team had two Yellowjackets place in the top nine runners, and finished fourth out of the 10 teams that competed. UR scored 118 points and narrowly beat out host team RPI who placed fifth with 121 points. Junior Hillary Snyder finished first for the team and fifth overall in 18:06. Sophomore Zarah Quinn was right behind her with a ninth place finish in 18:32. Senior Megan O’Connor, sophomore Meg Ogle and freshman Katherine Thomas rounded out the top five with 21st place, 30th place and 54th place, respectively.
The women’s team performed well overall, and they look toward the UAAs in Van Cortland Park in the Bronx next week. “This past weekend was definitely a step in the right direction,” Quinn said. “There were some big personal successes, and overall I think as a team we had a pretty successful day. I still think our best is yet to come. UAAs is a tough meet, even tougher than our regionals meet will be in many respects. But I think if our team channels the positive, ‘go get ’em’ attitude we had this past weekend, we can come out of UAAs respectably.”
The men are looking forward to next week’s race, after their success this past weekend. But know that the competition will be fierce at the UAAs and beyond. “Many of the UAA teams are nationally ranked [in the top 35],” Lang said. “This is the first time this season that we will go up against any of these teams. It will be a nice occasion to test ourselves against high-caliber competition prior to the Atlantic Regional meet which is three weekends away.”
Penney is a member of the class of 2012.