By Dan Lane
The men’s and women’s cross country teams used their opener on Saturday at the SUNY Brockport Invitational to prove that neither program is to be trifled with.
The men’s team finished first of four teams, routing Brockport, Rochester Institute of Technology and Alfred University with a perfect score of 15 points. The top five Rochester runners were the first five collegiate finishers in the men’s competition. Leading the Yellowjackets was senior captain Jamie Vavra, the overall winner, who completed the eight kilometers in 26:00. Completing the sweep were Take Five Scholar Frank Ramirez (26:43), sophomore Yuji Wakimoto (26:52), junior Dan Hamilton (26:59) and sophomore Adam Pacheck (27:14).
Rounding out the top seven UR runners were senior Jason Zayac and freshman Drew Zeccola, who finished eighth and 11th in 27:21 and 27:39 respectively.
The Yellowjackets accomplished the sweep with a significant move upward in the middle miles led by Vavra and Pacheck, and strong finishes by Hamilton and Wakimoto to hold off Brockport’s top runners.
“It was a great way to start the season,” Vavra said, “We really showed what we are capable of as a team.”
The women’s team, likewise, opened their season with a decisive victory. The lady Yellowjackets finished first as well.
Leading the charge were junior Zarah Quinn and sophomore Danielle Bessette, finishing the six kilometer-course in 24:10.27 and 24:14.83, good for third and fourth places, respectively. Not far behind, freshman Victoria Stepanova (fifth, 24:33), junior Meg Ogle (sixth, 24:38) and senior Hillary Snyder (10th, 25:19) cemented the victory.
The top women’s runners established their dominant position early and only moved upward as the race progressed. The large difference in score was also due in large part to big kicks by freshmen displacers Michelle McLaughlin and Katie Woodworth (25:20, 11th and 26:13, 17th, respectively), whose finishes drove up the opponents’ scores.
For both teams, the SUNY Brockport Invitational was a display of their prowess against local competition, and both teams can look forward to another strong performance at the Stampede Invitational this weekend.