UR Men’s and Women’s Cross Country (URXC) debuted their current top squads in Bethlehem, PA this past weekend at the Paul Short Run. The meet is hosted by Lehigh University and draws teams from all over the country to compete against some of the nation’s best.
To start off the meet for UR, the Men’s team competed in the Collegiate Men’s Brown Race against a very deep field. The UR men finished 22nd out of 45 teams, behind strong performances from seniors Dan Nolte and Eric Franklin. The team also demonstrated great depth with a spread of 30 seconds between its numbers three and six runners.
This is encouraging for URMXC as it enters the latter half of its season.
“We had a good showing today among a competitive field on a fast course,” Franklin, a team captain, said. “I think a lot of us [including myself] got out really well, struggled through the middle of the race, and brought it home strong.”
Looking at the race, the team has a lot to be proud of. The ‘Jackets averaged 26:06 for its top five runners—45 seconds faster per athlete than last year’s team.
Although this course may have been fast, according to Franklin, the race conditions were far from ideal. Considering that the Paul Short Run is an early-season meet, and that the team is coming off a difficult week of training, UR’s performance demonstrates that they have great potential moving forward.
Nolte expressed that this performance was a sign of encouragement.
“This performance sets us up well to continue improving into the post-season, and ultimately reach our goal of qualifying for nationals as a team in November.”
After the solid performance from the Men’s team, the URWXC competed in the Collegiate Women’s Brown Race against a variety of Division I, II, and III teams. Being ranked 12th in Division III entering the season, the team had anticipated running against top teams with the end goal of improving on their nationals performance from last season.
The Women’s Yellowjackets finished 26th of 42, rallying through a great effort from the team’s underclassmen. The team had a one-through-five spread of 55 seconds. Most notably, the ‘Jackets top seven consisted of six underclassmen, showing great potential for growth this season, as well as for years to come.
Moving into the heart of the season, the Yellowjackets still have room to improve from this past weekend’s performance. With this in mind, URWXC has hopes of improving on its national performance.
“Our goals for this season are to return to nationals and have a strong showing on the national stage, as well as being competitive in our region this year, which is historically strong,” senior captain Annie Peterson said.
In order to compete against regional powerhouses like St. Lawrence (6th of 42 in the Collegiate Women’s Brown Race) or Ithaca (8th of 42 in the Collegiate Women’s Brown Race), everyone will need to stay healthy. Members of UR’s top squad have been battling injuries.
Overall, the weekend was a success for both UR squads and a promising sign moving into championship season. Hopes are high to send both to nationals.