The men?s cross country team was up against tough competition Saturday, placing third with 62 points out of four teams at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The team had hopes of showing the state that it is a squad that is going to turn a lot of heads. Instead the team faced one of those off weeks that most teams go through in the course of a season.

?We are a good team, we trained brilliantly all week, we just didn?t show up to run on Saturday,? head coach John Izzo said.

UR?s top place winner was sophomore Kevin Mille who finished in fifth-place overall.

His time of 26:57 was only a second behind SUNY Fredonia?s James Sweeney who finished in fourth-place.

The only other top 10 finish came from the legs of freshman Dan Duett. He placed ninth with a time of 27:06.

Despite the ?less than ideal? team performance, there were a couple bright spots for the Yellowjac-kets.

?Two of our freshmen, Terrance Cordner and Ian Slattery, showed great improvement throughout the week and carried it through in Saturday?s race,? Izzo said.

For the second straight meet the team ran without one of its top runners junior Dave ?the ace? Messenheimer, who is making the transition from triathlon training to cross country running, Izzo said.

The team was also without junior Jon Salerno, who is recovering from a leg injury. Both he and Messenheimer will be running Saturday.

The team will travel to the Bronx this weekend to partake in one of the biggest meets of the season on one of the most famous cross country courses in the world ? Van Cortlandt Park.

New York University will host the annual NYU Invitational this Saturday.

?There is no doubt that our team will rebound from this past weekend?s performance and come back in full force at NYU,? Izzo said.

Johnston can be reached at

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