Despite the high expectations for the men’s cross country team, the University Athletic Association Championships once again ended in disappointment.

The team could not escape the cellar, finishing in eighth place at Saturday’s UAAs.

“It felt pretty low,” Head Coach John Izoo said. “Our expectations were certainly higher than eighth place again.”

Making the outcome even more surprising and disappointing, the poor finish came on home turf, as the race was held at Genesee Valley Park.

“Given the fact that the meet was on Halloween [weekend], we definitely got tricked and not treated,” Izzo said. “I went to a cross country meet and a horror show broke out.”

Although the cause of the letdown can’t be pinpointed, Izzo offered a very simple solution.

“We ran poorly – we need to run faster,” he said. “No one ran an inspired race. The sad part is, we’re much better than that.”

Senior Dan Duett was the team’s top finisher. He ran 27:13.60 to finish in 18th place. Finishing second was junior Andrew Dylag, who was 40th with a time of 28:10.90. Sophomore Joseph Lust was 41st overall and third for the men, as he crossed the line in 28:21.40. Placing fourth for the team, senior Peter Nabozny finished in 28:35.90 to place 44th overall. The final scorer for the team was junior Kevin McGettrick. He ran 28:43.70, finishing in 47th place.

“If everyone had run as well as they did two weeks ago [at the UR Invitational], we would have finished much better,” Izzo said. “Everyone was slower this time.”

The team is not simply taking the defeat in stride, however.

“They were very upset,” Izzo said. “In a way, [the runners] may have cared too much.”

They continued to practice hard this week in preparation for New York State Championships. They will return to SUNY Geneseo, where they raced on Oct. 2. They finished fourth out of 13 teams.

“I expect we’ll run faster [at States],” Izzo said. “We have the talent to do well. I would expect that we finish in the top third of this meet.”

One concern is that the lackluster performance might adversely affect the team’s confidence, which would hurt them in upcoming races.

“You couldn’t help but have your confidence be lower after this performance,” Izzo said. “That doesn’t mean we don’t have the ability to run faster. Our goal is to prove that in the next two weeks.”

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