The men’s and women’s cross country teams faced stiff competition at this past weekend’s University at Buffalo Stampede Invitational.
The men finished second of five teams behind the host, with a score of 53 points to UB’s 21. The Yellowjackets were led by senior captain Jamie Vavra who finished the 8-kilometer course in 25:23 for sixth place. Behind Vavra were sophomore Adam Pacheck (ninth, 25:49), Take Five Scholar Frank Ramirez (11th, 26:04), sophomore Yuji Wakimoto (12th, 26:08) and junior Dan Hamilton (15th, 26:24). The displacers were sophomore John Bernstein (16th, 26:26) and senior Paul Kintner (19th, 26:38). Both Bernstein and Kintner had breakout races to make the top seven.
Many members of the team consider their second place finish a solid, albeit unsatisfying, performance.
“We ran well,” freshman Mark Rollfs said. “But Coach wants to keep our expectations high because we can do much better.”
Despite the desire for more, the race contained many overwhelming positives for the Yellowjackets. They held their own against a tough Division I team in University at Buffalo and defeated California University of Pennsylvania, SUNY Geneseo and St. Bonaventure University. Almost every UR man improved his personal best time. The Yellowjackets had 11 runners finish in under 27 minutes and 19 under 28 minutes.
The women’s team had a similar finish and a similar attitude following the race. They placed third of five behind UB and California University with a score of 80 points to UB’s 21 and California’s 52. First across the line for the Yellowjackets was junior Zarah Quinn, who finished the 5-kilomter race in 19:37 for tenth place. Closing up the scoring for UR were senior Hillary Snyder (17th, 19:54), sophomore Danielle Bessette (19th, 19:59), freshman Katie Woodworth (20th, 20:12) and junior Meg Ogle (21st, 20:13), with freshman Victoria Stepanova (23rd, 20:24) and senior Meg Battin (24th; 20:29) finishing as the displacers.
UR’s top seven women all finished in under 21 minutes, and their spread from first to fifth was only 36 seconds — a good sign with a big meet like the Paul Short Invitational not far away.
The Yellowjackets managed to run solid races among tough interdivisional competition this week. Their improvement between last week’s race and this one plus the demeanor of this team shows that they have a lot more to give before the season ends.
Dan Lane is a Take Five Scholar.