After a solid effort but without the results to show for it at the UAA Championships in New York City, the women’s cross country team regrouped and eagerly headed to the New York State Championships, hosted by SUNY Oswego. This time around, their efforts paid off, as the women’s team finished fourth out of fifteen competing teams.
After competing in a number of six kilometer races, the women took advantage of the shorter five kilometer distance, as a number of them set personal records. Coach Barbara Hartwig said of the 5K race “It was a good change for them. It was nice that it was shorter than the last few races. It was definitely a good physical and mental break for them.”
And after last week’s struggles, that break couldn’t have come at a better time. Heading into the race, coach Hartwig said she had been “concerned with their physical and mental states. It was a challenge all week, and they desperately wanted to do well at the New York State meet. They take this very seriously.”
In response to the challenge, the whole team got off to a great start and put last week’s race behind them right off the bat, as coach Hartwig said, “they were all out at their fastest pace all year after the first mile. That was a nice confidence booster for the rest of the race.”
They were led by junior Elizabeth Canfield, who finished the race in 9th place with a time of 19:15. She was followed by senior Lisa Johns, who crossed the line in 19:32, which was good enough for 17th place. Mary LeBrun placed 29th with a time of 20:06 to finish 3rd for UR. Finishing in 48th with a time of 20:42 was freshman Jessica Van Binsberg, and junior Lisa Brassaw rounded out the scoring, finishing in 21:11 and 60th place.
The one area that the team seems to have improved the most in since the beginning of the season is its depth from the first runner through the fifth runner. Early in the season the fourth through sixth runners struggled to keep pace with the top three over the course of the five and six kilometer races.
But as the season has progressed, the gap between the first and fifth finisher has consistently decreased. Coach Hartwig said of the race as a whole, “often in championship meets, you’re forced to become faster than you have all season. I believed we could have a good race and do well as a team. We’re very excited with the outcome of the race, and our confidence is restored and at a good place for Regionals.” This weekend UR cross country competes in Regionals at the College of New Jersey.