Going into Saturday’s meet, the women’s cross country team was looking to perform better than they did last year. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite hit the mark.

The women came back from Pittsburgh as the sixth-placed team out of eight in the University Athletic Association.

“I had mixed feelings about the finish,” head coach Barbara Hartwig said. “I knew given the strength of the field – three nationally ranked teams – we could run great and finish realistically anywhere from fourth to eighth.”

UR did just that, but they were still disappointed.

Washington University in St. Louis, ranked fourth in the country in the latest NCAA Division III poll, won the meet with just 31 points.

No. 23 Emory University came in second with 72 points, and No. 14 University of Chicago finished third with 77 points.

Also ahead of UR were Case Western Reserve University and Brandeis University. The Yellowjackets totaled 155 points, edging past Carnegie Mellon University and New York University.

Individually, senior Jessica VanBinsbergen was the leader for UR. She finished 17th with a time of 23:24.6 on the six kilometer course.

Close behind VanBinsbergen was sophomore Kellie Hasselwander, who finished 19th with a time of 23:36.9.

Sophomores Stephanie Holowacz and Kate Pohlman came in together as well, finishing 39th and 40th respectively, with times of 24:11.4 and 24:22.9.

Junior Rebecca Hayes rounded out the team, finishing 50th with a time of 24:54.9, putting the top five runners from UR in the top 50 finishers of the race.

“Several of the women had [personal records] for 6,000 meters,” Hartwig said. “Obviously, I was happy with the PRs, but I was disappointed with our 1-5 split. We were 44 seconds for one to five at our last competition, and Saturday we were 1:30.”

The course started with a gradual downhill slope through the first 1.5 miles, making the start of the race a fast one. This weakened another one of the Yellowjackets’ strengths – the women usually have extremely even splits, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday.

“Saturday’s course was such that the first two splits were bound to be faster than we have ever seen this season that meant that the last was going to be harder to maintain,” Hartwig said. “But knowing this and knowing that everyone was going to experience the same thing we should have and could have been tougher.”

However, by no means does this meet mark the end of the season. The women still have three meets to look forward to.

This coming weekend, UR travels to Hamilton College for the New York State Collegiate Track Championships.

“This team always sticks together, and I know we will get it together for the New York State meet this weekend,” Hartwig said.

Philbrick can be reached at ephilbrick@campustimes.org.

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