The UR Women’s Cross Country team ran at the NCAA III Championship hosted in Louisville, KY after a 4th place finish in the regional meet.
The team competed in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Cross Country Championship hosted by St. Lawrence University on Nov. 16. It had been a solid season for the ‘Jackets, finishing no lower than eight in all competitions. Notable results include a first out of 20 finish in the St. Lawrence University Ronald Hoffman Invitational in mid-October and a third place finish in the UAA Championship.
A first place finish in the UAA Championship would have given them an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, but a third place finish allowed the ‘Jackets to compete on the Atlantic regional level. Given the opportunity, the ‘Jackets showed they deserved a spot at the NCAA Championship, finishing fourth place out of 38 teams.
UR sent five runners, all of whom finished in the top 44 out of a combined total of 277 female runners. Of the five UR runners, senior Jordan Hurlbut led the group with an 8th place finish timed at 22:38.5. Following Hurlbut, senior Kelly Reese finished in 12th place with a time of 22:43.6.
This timely, strong finish at the regional level gave the ‘Jackets the chance for a bid to compete on the national level. The ‘Jackets have been selected as one of the 32 teams competing this Saturday in Louisville. Two teams from each region were given automatic bids for a total of 16 teams. Then 16 additional teams were chosen from a group of “at-large” candidates who had shown throughout the season that they earned the right to compete at the highest level.
The ‘Jackets, an “at-large” team, will see local rival RIT also making it to the final meet. The meet will also include the top seven individuals from each region who were not part of a qualifying team, adding an additional 56 runners.
At the NCAA III Championship, the ‘Jackets finished 18th out of 32. Though the team may have wanted to do better, 18th was their best finish since 2015. On the individual level, junior Ximena Reyes Torres was the top finisher for the ‘Jackets for the first time this season, posting a personal best 22:45.3.
Many fellow cross country runners, though not competing, joined the team in Louisville. When asked about the culture of the team, senior Julia Myers said, “ Having a huge group of our teammates drive all the way to Kentucky just to see us race shows what a great support system we have on the team.”
With the team performing so well this season, junior Elisabeth Rott said that she was “incredibly grateful for all the support in the championship season.” Rott feared that “the championship season sometimes can separate teams,” but this year she felt that an increase of time spent together has “developed closer relationships” among teammates. The fall season has officially finished for the ‘Jackets. After a massively successful season, the team will be in good hands following the example of seniors Hurlbut, Myers, and Reese. By losing only three seniors, the team should keep the chemistry and cohesiveness it had this season and hopes to repeat their success next year.
Editor’s Note (11/26/19): The first sentence of this article was changed to reflect the fact that the championship had already occured at the time of publication.