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Photo By Alyssa Arre, Contributing Photographer

Here they go again.

On Sunday, Nov. 13, the UR men’s cross country team officially punched its second straight ticket to compete at the NCAA Championships. The Yellowjackets were selected by the NCAA Cross Country Coaches’ Association to receive one of 16 at-large bids — which are given to teams all over the country — to the 32-team field that will compete in Oshkosh, Wis. on Division III cross country’s grandest stage.

The team made their case the day before, at Saturday’s Atlantic Regional Championship, hosted by St. Lawrence University. The ’Jackets placed fifth out of 40 teams at the event with 148 points (St. Lawrence won the meet with 89 points).

Senior Jamie Vavra led the team with a sixth-place finish overall, completing the 8K in 25:24.  Not far behind Vavra were Take Five Scholar Frank Ramirez (18th, 25:52), sophomore Adam Pacheck (22nd, 26:06), junior Dan Hamilton (38th, 26:24), senior Andrew Fleisher (64th, 26:49), sophomore Yuji Wakimoto (66th, 26:51) and senior Jason Zayac (77th, 26:56). Vavra, Ramirez and Pacheck earned All-Region honors.

The race itself was an exciting one.  The ’Jackets got a great start with Vavra up front and the others fighting their way through the huge pack of runners. The team fought a hard battle over the middle miles, trying to hold onto every position. Hamilton performed especially well in this part of the race by staying with some of the best runners in the region and not letting them pull ahead.  By the final straightaway, the effort of those miles became clear in the looks of pain on each runner’s face as he made his last charge to the finish.

Now that the men’s team has secured its spot at the National meet, they have a few days to tune up and taper before traveling to Wisconsin to take on the country’s best.  The ’Jackets are now busy preparing and steeling themselves for what should be a hard-fought  race in a few days from now.

Coach John Izzo agrees.

“We made it to the dance,” Izzo said. “I guess it’s time to boogie.”

The women’s team also had an impressive finish. They ended up 13th out of 36 teams with a score of 392 points.  The ’Jackets were lead by junior Zarah Quinn, who finished 37th overall, completing the 6K in 23:08.  Quinn was followed by sophomore Danielle Bessette (69th, 23:51), freshman Caitlyn Garbarino (89th, 24:15), junior Meg Ogle (91st, 24:18), senior Meg Battin (109th, 24:37) and freshman Victoria Stepanova (123rd, 24:56).

The women’s race progressed in a similar fashion to the men’s, in that the Yellowjackets got themselves into position and didn’t let up. Over the middle miles, they began to pick off other runners one by one, and at the close of the race they were still gaining on the competition.  UR’s high finish was due in no small part to outstanding performances by Quinn and Garbarino — both ran exemplary races from gun to tape.

Lane is a Take Five Scholar.



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