If the men’s cross country team was concerned about running at the New York State Collegiate Track Conference Championships at Hamilton College this past weekend, it certainly didn’t inhibit their performance – they ran strong and finished second out of 16 teams.

“The meet this weekend went exceptionally well,” junior Joseph Lust said.

The Yellowjackets totaled just 84 points, finishing behind SUNY Geneseo who garnered 49 points. Geneseo is currently ranked 21st in the nation in the latest NCAA Division III cross country poll.

The first man to finish for the Yellowjackets was the constant leader, sophomore Mark Stevens, who finished fifth out of 144 runners with a time of 26:28.8 for the eight-kilometer course. Senior Kevin McGettrick came in second for UR, finishing 10th overall with a time of 26:50.7.

The five Yellowjacket scorers, separated by 1:08, had two runners in the top 10, three in the top 15 and four in the top 20 overall. Lust finished 15th with a time of 27:04.0 and sophomore Dan Mueller came in right on his heels with a time of 27:04.2, finishing 16th.

The fifth scorer for UR was freshman Thomas Brekke, who was timed at 27:37.1 and finished 38th overall.

Despite the difficult course conditions, the Yellowjackets still managed to do well.

“The only thing that was ideal about the course was the sunny weather,” Lust said. “The course was easily the hardest we had run all year, filled with hills, caked in mud and having an uphill finish.”

The men are now looking forward to this weekend’s NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships, held here in Rochester at the Genesee Valley State Park. If they manage to place second, then they will head to the NCAA Division III National Championships in Ohio.

Continuing, he said, “Our men have been preparing for the NCAA Regional meet all season, and this top showing was right where we should be at this time. The second place finish is simply a manifestation of the fact that we are ready for the Regionals and are amongst the best in the region.”

“Though Geneseo, the College of New Jersey and New York University are top teams in the country, we have been on their tails all season, and surpassing two of them is well within our reach,” he said. “Come next Saturday, we’ll enter the race seeded fourth and have every intention of placing first or second.”

Lust encourages the students to get tickets and attend the race to cheer on him and his teammates.

“Come out and watch – it should be a great show,” he said.

Philbrick can be reached at ephilbrick@campustimes.org.

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