In a league with three nationally ranked teams, it was junior Mark Stevens who came out on top last weekend at the University Athletic Association’s cross country championship meet. Stevens placed first out of 78 runners, finishing the eight-kilometer course at Washington University in St. Louis in just 25:25. He was eight seconds ahead of the next finisher. His achievement named him the UAA Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Year and First Team All-Association.

Stevens is UR’s first individual UAA men’s cross country champion in nine years, and he is only the seventh Yellowjacket runner ever to attain such an honor.

Junior Patrick Hughes, Rochester’s second runner, also had a successful race, placing 14th overall with a time of 26:13, a personal best for the season and a place good enough to get him named Second Team All-Association.

Unfortunately, the team had a difficult time at the meet, placing sixth out of eight teams with 137 points – though New York University, Carnegie Mellon University and Washington University, who placed ahead of the ‘Jackets, are all ranked nationally.

Third to come in for UR was junior Dan Mueller, who crossed the finish at 26:36, placing 29th in the race. Next was sophomore Tom Brekke, who placed 46th overall and clocked in at 27:06. Right behind him was the Yellowjackets’ final scorer, senior Joseph Lust, who placed 47th with a time of 27:07. The displacers for the team were sophomore Dan Chebot in 48th and senior Nicholas Roosa in 54th, with times of 27:14 and 27:45, respectively.

The women’s team also had a tough race in St. Louis. The ‘Jackets placed seventh out of eight teams with 224 points, though they were competing against four nationally ranked teams.

“We were all pretty disappointed with our performance at UAAs,” senior Nora Craighead said. “Competition was really tough, but we definitely could have run better as a team.”

The future of the team continues to look bright, however, as freshman Sadie Gollub was once again the first runner for UR. She placed 41st overall and finished the six-kilometer course in 24:51. Junior Laura Richenderfer was second for the team, placing 47th and crossing the finish at 25:11.

Third for the Yellowjackets was freshman Rachel Given, who clocked in at 25:55 for 59th place. Rochester’s final two scorers were just behind Given. Craighead and fellow senior Whitney Silkworth were 61st and 62nd with times of 26:01 and 26:12, respectively.

Rochester’s displacers were freshman Allison McComb in 66th with a time of 26:32 and freshman Hilary Haefner in 67th with a time of 26:35.

This weekend, both the men’s and the women’s teams will be traveling to St. Lawrence University to participate in the New York State Collegiate Track Conference Championships.

“We are going to use this upcoming week to take care of our bodies and injuries and come back strong next weekend at states,” Craighead said. “We are by no means discouraged; we will just use last weekend as motivation to run even harder next week.”

Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.

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