The Yellowjackets ran a great race on Saturday at the SUNY Geneseo Invitational. Although their first few hundred meters fell a little short of spectacular, the women’s cross country team ran very well under the fierce competition, causing them to place fifth out of 16 teams.

“Our top group spotted the competition yardage in the first couple hundred meters,” Hartwig said. “They competed as well as everyone else, but we were running amongst runners slower than us that held us back early on. Overall, the positives [of our race] outweighed the negatives.”

The times were fast, the runners made a significant progress in bringing their personal best times down and the mile splits were the most even head coach Barbara Hartwig has ever seen from a team at UR.

Senior Jessica Van Binsbergen led the team, placing 16th in the 172-runner field, with a time of 19:21 for the five-kilometer course. She was followed closely by teammate sophomore Kellie Hasselwander, finishing in 20th place with a time of 19:39.

Junior Rebecca Hayes came in 27th with a time of 20:02, then sophomore Stephanie Holowacz at 34th, with a time of 20:16. Junior Stacy Allen rounded off the scoring with a finish in 37th place and a time of 20:24.

“Jessie ran her best race of the season, getting back into shape after taking some time off over the summer due to injury,” Hartwig said. “She’s racing smart and training hard, as is everyone on the team.”

Once again, the women had a new order for their top five runners. “We had our third top runner this week,” Hartwig said. “Now we just need to get everyone to run strongly on the same day.”

The team worked together to total a score of 134 points, placing narrowly behind fourth place Otterbein College with 123 points, but far surpassing SUNY Fredonia in sixth place with 206 points. SUNY Geneseo took the title of their own invitational with 25 points.

“We just came off a two-week practice cycle that was very hard,” Hartwig said. “They competed well and I’m happy with the results. We are going to work on getting out better, maintaining even paces and continuing to be competitive. It was a very good field and there were some fine runners in the race. It was an excellent test for us.”

This weekend, the Yellowjackets’ top seven runners are headed to Ohio Wesleyan University for an invitational on Friday, while the rest of the runners will stay in Rochester for an invitational at Nazareth College.

The race in Ohio is on the same course as the national championship, so it will be a good preview for the final meets at the end of the season, the apple of everyone’s eye.

“Every week we get closer to our goal,” Hartwig said. “We want to place higher at the championship meets.”

Philbrick can be reached at

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