The men’s cross country team returned to competition with fervor this past weekend, finishing fifth out of 18 teams at the SUNY Geneseo Invitational in Letchworth State Park, the site of the approaching national qualifiers. The five scorers for the Yellowjackets placed in the top 42 out of 271 runners.

Junior Mark Stevens once again led the pack as champion of the race. This was the second race of the season he won, after participating in only three thus far. He came in at 25:34 for the eight-kilometer course.

“Stevens ran a very controlled race and looked relaxed while winning,” head coach John Izzo said.

Junior Patrick Hughes was next for the team, placing 19th and clocking in at 26:33. Izzo was also impressed with Hughes’s race.

“Hughes had an excellent race and was backed up by some fine running by the entire team,” Izzo said.

The next three runners finished in the following 33 seconds. Third for UR was junior Dan Mueller, who placed 34th at 26:57. Just one second and one place behind was sophomore Dan Chebot at 35th, crossing the tape at 26:58.

Finishing up for the team was senior Joseph Lust, who clocked in at 27:06 and placed 42nd overall. The displacers were sophomore Tom Brekke and freshman Tyle Stelzig.

UR finished the race with 125 points, placing them well ahead of the sixth place Geneseo Alumni with 206 points and they were just eight points behind fourth place Ohio Northern University. Host SUNY Geneseo was the champion team for the event.

Izzo was very pleased with the results of the race and is looking forward to great things to come from his team.

“This group has been training very well and I expect that they will be ready when the major meets arrive at the end of the season,” he said. “In our sport, you are what you practice and we are looking good and improving every week.”

This weekend the ‘Jackets will be competing close to home for Meliora Weekend, participating in the Nazareth Invitational at Nazareth College. The gun goes off at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Philbrick can be reached at

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