When the women’s cross country team ran at the Lehigh Invitational on Sept. 28, most had never competed in a six kilometer race before. Coach Barbara Hartwig said of the Lehigh race, “Now that they know what it feels like to race six kilometers, we need to step it up.” Her impressions were that the women were “a bit intimidated by the longer distance and the stongest competition they’ll face this year.”

If they were still intimidated when they went to SUNY-Geneseo last weekend, they certainly didn’t show it this time around. The UR women’s team placed third out of 15 teams, losing only to Geneseo and SUNY-Oswego, both of whom are nationally ranked. Although the team is “still trying to work on the gap [between the top three runners and the next two scorers]” Hartwig was “very pleased again” and said that “it’s very inspiring to feel like we’re doing better.”

The team’s top runner was junior Elizabeth Canfield, who finished 6th overall with a time of 23:09, of which Coach Hartwig stated “she ran with a lot of fire and determination.”

Senior Lisa Johns and junior Mary LeBrun crossed the line just five seconds apart, placing 15th and 17th with times of 23:54 and 23:59 respectively. Junior Justine Deutch finished 31st with a time of 24:53 and freshman Jessica Van Binsber rounded out UR’s scoring team, finishing in 25:10, good enough for 41st overall.

Along the way to completing the 6k race, many UR runners set new 5k personal records, including freshman Patricia Waters, who took nearly a full minute off her previous best 5K time.

Following consecutive weekends of difficult 6K races, the team will continue to practice and prepare for the conference meet in the upcoming weeks. Hartwig said “We’re definitely heading in the right direction. The work ethic and desire is there and the top ten still haven’t been determined.” The team can only bring ten runners to the season ending races, with 13 women on the team, competition within the team will intensify.

Swidler can be reached at dswidler@campustimes.org.

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