The men’s cross country team finished off the 2004 fall season with two excellent races.
After finishing fifth at last week’s New York State Championships, they lived up to their expectations on Saturday, finishing seventh out of 33 teams at the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.
“I was very satisfied with the seventh-place finish,” Head Coach John Izzo said. “It was by far the best run that any college cross country team that I’ve coached has had.”
Senior Dan Duett led the team once again, finishing in 20th place with a time of 25:54.3, his best of the season.
Although Duett did not make the cut for NCAA Championships, his performance earned him NCAA Atlantic All-Regional Honors.
The return of sophomore Andrew Whitbeck to the lineup brought the team a boost. He finished the eight-kilometer race in 26:39.9 to place 47th.
Junior Kevin McGettrick was third on the team and 57th overall, as he crossed the line in 26:47.5.
Right behind McGettrick was junior Andrew Dylag, who ran 26:51.7 to place 58th.
Freshman Joseph Lust was the fifth finisher for the team. His time of 26:55.7 earned him 61st place.
“The minimum improvement was 30 seconds faster than they’ve run,” Izzo said. “Some were significantly better than that.”
With 67 points, the College of New Jersey easily defeated SUNY Geneseo for first place overall.
Geneseo posted 84 points despite having the first- and fourth-place runners.
New York University was third with 97 points. SUNY Cortland and SUNY Brockport were fourth and fifth with 107 and 157 points, respectively.
With 238 points, St. Lawrence University narrowly beat out the UR team for sixth place.
UR scored 243 points to finish solidly in seventh.
With great races in back-to-back weeks, the team has certainly put the disappointment at UAA’s behind them, which is certainly a positive as they head into the offseason.
“We finished the season on two straight highs,” Izzo said. “I know that the team is happy that they learned from their mistakes.”
Although next year is still a long way out, the prospects brought on by the last two races of the season are already looking very promising.
“We have most of our people coming back,” Izzo said. “They really truly know that they have what it takes to qualify for Nationals. We wish we had a few more weeks.”
Swidler can be reached at email@example.com.