Men lock horns with Div. II No. 7 team Lock HavenWith the University Athletic Association Championships just two weeks away, the men’s cross country team has reached the end of the regular season. Their final meet before the start of the postseason came at the UR Invitational, which was held Saturday at Genesee Valley Park. Instead of going all out to win their home meet, the team looked toward the larger goal of having success in the UAAs. “Almost every team in the race was using the meet as a prep race for their conference meets,” Head Coach John Izzo said. “The people that ran there for most of the teams ran well.” Although this was not a highly contested race, it still included some of the top runners from top-level teams. Lock Haven University, ranked seventh in Division II, battled with Carnegie Mellon University, the No. 22 team in Division III, for the top overall spot. Lock Haven won the fight, finishing with 48 points to CMU’s 49. With 63 points, No. 11-ranked Division III SUNY Geneseo finished third. Rochester was fourth out of 12 teams as they posted 143 points.Leading the way for the men was senior Dan Duett, who ran 26:53 for the eight-kilometer race to finish in 12th place. With a time of 27:50, junior Kevin McGettrick placed 30th overall. Not far behind McGettrick was junior Andrew Dylag with a time of 27:56, earning 31st place. Sophomore Joseph Lust finished 32nd with a time of 28:03. Rounding out the scoring for the men was freshman Nick Roosa, who ran 28:08 to place 34th. “Some people ran their best races of the year – others did not,” Izzo said.With only 10 members of the team permitted to compete in UAAs, Izzo and the assistant coaches must make a decision regarding whom to keep for the rest of the season. “We’re currently continuing on with 12 athletes,” Izzo said. “I will make my announcement [about who will be in the top 10] at a team meeting next Wednesday. I’m really pleased with the fact that it’s going to be a difficult choice. That means that people are running well and competing.”With five nationally ranked teams in the UAA, the strong competition within the team is very important. “We’re starting to run really well,” Izzo said. “The difference between them and us has greatly decreased.”
Women take third place in UR Invitation at GVPEven without their top runner, the women’s cross country team continues to stand up to the tough competition. With junior Christina Michael sidelined with a knee injury for the last two meets, the other members of the team have stepped up in her absence. At the UR Invitational held at Genesee Valley Park on Saturday, the team had 98 points as they finished third out of 11 teams. With just 24 points and all five of their runners finishing in the top eight, the first-place team was SUNY Geneseo, the No. 10 team in the country. Coming in second was Baldwin Wallace College, which posted 46 points. “I thought we were very competitive,” Head Coach Barbara Hartwig said. “The only teams that beat us were a nationally ranked team and a team that is ranked second in its conference. I was very pleased.”The team was led by freshman Kellie Hasselwander. She completed the six-kilometer race in 24:47 to finish in 15th place. Sophomore Rebecca Hayes was close behind, placing 16th with a time of 24:51. Juniors Kate Pohlman and Jessica VanBinsbergen ran times of 25:05 and 25:07, finishing back-to-back in 21st and 22nd places, respectively. The final scorer for the team was freshman Stephanie Holowacz, who earned 24th place with a time of 25:23. A trio of freshmen – Laura Richenderfer, Sarah Hotaling and Louisa Slocum – all managed to finish among the top 30. The gap between Hasselwander and Holowacz was just 36 seconds. “I thought we continued to get better,” Hartwig said. “This was our best 1-5 split of the year, and several of the women had personal records even though it was a slow course.”The team will have another weekend off as they continue to prepare for the University Athletic Association Championships on Oct. 30, which will be held at GVP. Until then, the team will continue to battle to determine who will make the top 10. “This year has hard-fought competition to be in our top 10,” Hartwig said. “Any of the 12 that run, we’re going to have a competitive team.” Michael’s availability for the UAA Championships remains uncertain. “People have been doing a really good job in Christina’s absence,” Hartwig said. “We’re hoping that she can run, but if she can’t, I know that everyone will work that much harder in her absence. We’re taking it day-to-day.”No matter who ends up participating in the meet, it is sure to be a strong showing from the team. “Each time we race we gain more confidence,” Hartwig said. “You can see the momentum building.” With the momentum they currently have, there’s no telling how well they can do this postseason. Swidler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.