The men’s cross country team has been experiencing a streak of poor performances at the University Athletic Association Championship meet – placing last in the conference for the past four years. This all changed on Saturday, however, when they placed fifth out of eight teams.

Led by sophomore Mark Stevens, UR racked up 112 points, placing them in front of Case Western Reserve University, Emory University and Brandeis University.

Unranked Carnegie Mellon University, the host school, surprised everyone by surpassing No. 25 University of Chicago, No. 10 New York University and No. 18 Washington University in St. Louis to take the title.

“None of us were intimidated by other teams’ credentials or past performances, and we competed well to earn our fifth place finish,” senior Kevin McGettrick said. “The performance was definitely a manifestation of this team’s confidence in our abilities and our belief that we are one of the top teams in the state and in the region.”

Stevens, a consistent top runner throughout the season, finished second out of 78 runners with a time of 25:21.1 for the eight kilometer race – coming in less than four seconds behind the winner.

McGettrick came in at 26:23.8, finishing 20th. The Yellowjackets’ top five runners finished in the top 40, as junior Joseph Lust finished 25th with a time of 26:31.5, sophomore Daniel Mueller finished 30th with a time of 26:42.9 and freshman Daniel Chebot came in at 26:54, placing 36th.

“The course was one that was characterized both by long, gradual hills, yet a very fast surface and good weather conditions,” McGettrick said. “The result was that almost the whole team ran very fast times despite the hills.”

McGettrick pays tribute to the team’s growing confidence throughout the season as a main reason for their notable accomplishment.

Carrying on the excitement of last weekend’s success, the Yellowjackets are working toward the upcoming championship events.

This weekend, they are traveling to the New York State College Track Championships at Hamilton College, and they will run at the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships here on Nov. 12.

If they finish as one of the top two teams at the regional meet, they’ll travel to the national championships in Ohio the following weekend. The men are feeling optimistic of their upcoming meets.

“Without a doubt, I feel that the best is yet to come for our team, and our performances will speak for themselves at these forthcoming meets,” McGettrick said.

Philbrick can be reached at ephilbrick@campustimes.org.



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