It was a quick start for the 2002 cross-country season this year. Only a week and a half after members of both the men’s and women’s teams returned to school they traveled to SUNY-Brockport to run a dual meet under a scorching September sun. “The sun on Saturday was unbearable,” said Coach Barbara Hartwig,”I know it had an effect on all the athletes.” It was a victorious day for the women’s team, defeating Brockport 33-22 in total team points. This was the fourth straight year that the women have won the meet and brought home “the boot.” The men’s team fell to Brockport by a score of 37-18.

The Brockport dual meet is a great chance for the upperclassmen runners to show the freshmen exactly how intense a collegiate cross-country race can be. And for the second straight year senior Lisa Johns showed the newcomers how to do it. In the 2001 meet against Brockport, Johns finished in second place to junior Mary LeBrun. The story this year was the tremendous improvement that Johns has made. She knocked 23 seconds off last year’s time while attaining her first collegiate victory with a time of 20:05. “Lisa really deserved to win this race. She showed tremendous improvement in the spring and I know she can still run faster,” Hartwig said. Transfer student and junior Elizabeth Canfield also had an impressive first meet for the Yellowjackets. She placed second behind Johns with a time of 20:29. Rounding out the top three was LeBrun who battled some heat related problems and finished with a time of 21:30. Other top ten finishers were freshman Jessica VanBinsbergen and junior Lisa Brassow with times of 21:44 and 22:56 respectively. “This was a good opening meet for us considering we are not very far along in training,” said Hartwig, “we always notice improvement between the first meet and the second meet.”

The men’s race saw both upperclassmen and newcomers with very strong times. Five UR runners broke into the top 10. One of the crucial things to note about the outcome of the race was that the men had a group of seven runners within 1:26 of each other. “For our team to do this shows a lot of progress,” Coach John Izzo said, “we have a talented team, but very young.”

Senior Dave Messenheimer was the top Yellowjacket finisher. He came in fifth-place with a time of 27:46 for the five-mile course. Junior Ian Slattery showed signs of improvement from last season and finished 11 seconds behind Messenheimer in sixth-place. “Ian is a prime example of how hard work can really pay off,” said Izzo. Slattery first started to make progress last spring in his track campaign. Freshmen Chris Nolan and Kevin McGetrick finished in seventh and ninth places respectively, with times of 28:10 and 28:23. Sophomore Dan Duett ran a time of 28:41 for a tenth-place finish. Freshmen Matt Lagravanese and senior Justin Panarese rounded out the group of seven UR runners with the former coming in at 28:41 and the latter at 29:12. “I thought we did well on Saturday. We’ve been doing some heavy mileage and are in the intensity work phase of our workouts. It showed in our results.”

Both teams will travel to SUNY-Fredonia next weekend to run in a tri-meet with RIT.

Johnston can be reached at

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