With high expectations entering the season, the women’s cross country team hit an early bump in the road last weekend when they were defeated at SUNY Brockport.

Coach Barbara Hartwig said of the team’s performance, “we were obviously very rusty,” adding,”it was obvious that it was our first meet of the season.” She continued, “we’ve had two good weeks of practice, but we just weren’t race sharp at all.”

Because it’s still very early in the season, there is no need to panic, however, as Hartwig said of the first meet, “it’s not as competitive as we’re going to be in the future we’re gonna be pretty tough.”

Part of the problem that has plagued the women’s team early this season is that “right now, there’s a group in front, a large gap, and another group further back,” Hartwig said

After losing two of last year’s top five runners, Lisa Johns and Elizabeth Canfield, Hartwig stated that the team is “running strong through four places,” but that they are still “waiting for a fifth person to step up.”

The team was led last weekend by Mary LeBrun, who Hartwig said “executed the race plan very well,” finishing the four kilometer race in 15:55 to finish third overall.

The next finisher for the UR team was sophomore Jessica VanBinsbergen, who crossed the line in 16:33, good enough for seventh place.

Hartwig said that Jessica’s “summer of hard work was very apparent by her performance on Saturday.”

The eighth place finisher was Erika Wasserstein, whose time of 16:44 put her third among the UR women.

Freshman Stacy Allen was a few seconds behind, finishing ninth overall in 16:50.

Hartwig said that Allen “is going to continue to get better, and has looked very good [so far this season].”

Rounding out the scoring for the UR team and the top ten in the race was Elizabeth Boerman, who finished in 17:03.

As the team continues to improve and get into regular season shape,Hartwig said that the race this weekend against RIT “is going to be another challenge,” adding “the competition will be real good this weekend.”

She issued an early challenge to her team, stating “we definitely have some people who can fill that fifth spot, and I’m hoping that somebody’s gonna rise to the occasion.” She added, “I’m confident we’re gonna be a lot sharper this weekend and a lot more race ready.”

If her prediction holds true and certain people can step up and fill the void left by the departed members of the team, the squad will round out nicely.

Regardless of who that next player to step up will be, “we’re going to be pretty tough,” Hartwig assured.

Swidler can be reached at dswidler@campustimes.org.

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