The men’s cross country team rebounded from a disappointing fourth place finish at the Geneseo Invitational on Oct. 4, as they impressed the home crowd at Saturday’s UR Invitational with a very solid third place performance, losing only to Division II Lock Haven University and SUNY Geneseo, both nationally ranked teams.

“It was the best race we’ve run in the four years I’ve been here, by far. We faced two great teams and I thought we competed very well against them,” Head Coach John Izzo said.

With all five finishers in the top seven overall, Lock Haven totaled 21 points. Geneseo’s 61 total points put them second overall. With 110 points, the UR men finished third, narrowly defeating Brockport, which had 116 to finish fourth. Also coming in behind the UR men were Mansfield University, Baldwin Wallace, SUNY Oswego and Nazareth College.

The excellent showing can be attributed to home field advantage, although the team’s resiliency and ability to bounce back from a less than stellar performance last time.

“There’s nothing like paying penance for having been bad. The fact that everybody stepped it up was really great to see. The whole team realized that we were just much better [than we showed at Geneseo.] Quite honestly, I think the Geneseo race was a total abberation,” Izzo said.

Finishing in the top spot for the UR men as has been the case throughout most of the season was junior Dan Duett, who was 13th overall with a time of 26:25.

“There was a strong feeling of urgency that we needed to perform well. We knew we needed a good race to lead us into the championship season,” Duett said. Not far behind him, sophomore Ian Slattery crossed the line in 26:37, good for 18th place. Finishing 24th with a time of 27:12 was freshman Ben Snyder. He was followed closely by sophomore Kevin McGettrick, whose time of 27:18 put him 26th. Sophomore Chris Nolan was 29th, crossing the line in 27:23 to round out the top five for the men. The top seven were completed by junior Peter Nabozny, who ran a time of 27:27, earning 30th place, and freshman Joseph Lust, who was 32nd overall with a time of 27:31.

“Top to bottom, we looked very sharp. We went out with the intention to compete, regardless of what our times were, and we ended up running well and running fast,” Izzo said.

Running a good race gives the men some much needed momentum as they head to UAA Championships at Chicago next weekend.

“Our performance was more than important for championship season – it was a critical make-or- break moment. Since we all ran so well, our team confidence going into championship season is much higher,” Duett said.

With such a high level of competition among the eight teams, everyone will certainly need to be at the top of their games. “If we run really great, we could be anywhere from right in the hunt to win, to last. Everyone has to be on or you will be near the bottom,” Izzo said.

Knowing now what it takes to get to the top of their games, this team appears primed for another strong performance, making for a very exciting postseason.

Swidler can be reached at dswidler@campustimes.org.



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