Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams had an impressive showing at the New York State Collegiate Track Conference (NYSCTC) Championship in Fairport, N.Y. on Saturday, Oct. 20, with the men taking home the team state champion title and senior Lauren Norton claiming the individual female state champion title.
This was the men’s first team state title since 2008. Junior John Bernstein placed fourth overall as the top finisher for UR with a time of 26:06.41. However, it was a total team effort, with five of UR’s runners finishing in the top 16, which truly clinched the team title for the ’Jackets.
Not far behind Bernstein were junior Adam Pacheck and senior Dan Hamilton, who finished seventh and eighth, respectively. Pachek clocked in with a time of 26:17.97 and Hamilton finished strong at 26:18.48.
Soon after came sophomore Mark Rolffs, who placed 13th with a time of 26:26.41, junior Yuji Wakimoto, who placed 16th with a time of 26:30.27 and displacers (runners whose score does not count toward the team total except in the case of a tie) seniors Joseph Mozingo and Justin Roncaioli placing 20th and 22nd, respectively.
With these strong performances, UR was able to edge out their closest opponent, St. Lawrence University, by 42 points, earning the ’Jackets the 2012 New York State Cross Country Championship title.
The women’s cross country team also held their own in the state championship meet on Saturday, finishing in a respectable fourth place position out of twelve competing teams.
However, the real Cinderella story was that of Norton, who finished first out of 141 runners, claiming UR’s first individual state title in 25 years.
“I was very excited about winning. It is an honor to be the first NYSCTC champion since Josepha Benzoni 25 years ago,” said Norton.
Norton clocked in with a time of 22:18.02, placing her over 15 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, Amy Cymerman of St. Lawrence, and over 27 seconds ahead of third place finisher Ella Martin, also from St. Lawrence.
“I basically knew what I had to do personally for the team to do their absolute best,” Norton said. “I am happy that I was able to accomplish what I set out to do.”
Other strong performers included UR freshman Catherine Knox, who earned a 12th place finish with a time of 23:41.34. She was followed by senior Meg Ogle with a time of 24:07.38, who was 20th overall, senior Zarah Quinn with a time of 24:19.57, 28th overall, junior Danielle Bessette with a time of 24:25.63, 32nd overall and displacers freshman Ana Joynt in 38th, and sophomore Caitlyn Garabino in 40th.
These solid performances helped contribute to the ’Jackets’ overall fourth place team finish, where they were narrowly defeated by third place Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute by a meager one point, and edged out fifth place Hamilton College by 16 points.
“Everyone on our team looks strong in the workouts, which is a sign of good things to come in our next few races,” Knox said.
The ’Jackets’ spirits remain high as they hope to have another strong performance at the UAA Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27, hosted in Genesee Valley Park.
Cozen is a member of the class of 2015.