The UR men’s cross country team traveled to St. Lawrence University last weekend to compete in the New York State Collegiate Track Conference championships, where they made their presence known with a third place finish out of 16 teams.
The Yellowjackets totaled 132 points and came in behind only SUNY Geneseo and Rochester Institute of Technology, both of which are ranked in the latest NCAA Division III cross country poll.
“We are coming around as a group just at the right time,” head coach John Izzo said. “We were ranked tied for seventh going into the meet and to come out third shows great improvement.”
Junior Mark Stevens once again took hold of the competition, placing second overall in a field of 144 runners. He crossed the tape at 25:52 for the cold and muddy eight-kilometer course. Stevens has yet to finish lower than third place in any race this season.
However, Stevens couldn’t lead the team all on his own. The ‘Jackets had another runner place in the top 10. Junior Patrick Hughes finished ninth overall with a time of 26:04.
Third for UR was junior Dan Mueller, who crossed the finish line at 26:28, placing 21st in the race. Sophomore Tom Brekke was fourth for the team, placing 41st overall with a time of
26:56. The final scorer for the Yellowjackets was sophomore Dan Chebot, who finished the race in 27:24, placing 62nd.
The displacers for the ‘Jackets were senior Nick Roosa and classmate Brian MacIlvain, who finished at 27:26 in 66th and at 27:33 in 72nd, respectively.
Unfortunately, the women didn’t fare quite as well. The Yellowjackets placed 13th out of 17 teams, though competition included SUNY Geneseo, which was ranked first in the latest NCAA Division III cross country poll, along with Ithaca College, also mentioned in the poll.
As usual, the team showed indication of a bright future. Of the top seven runners for the ‘Jackets, three were freshmen. This experience as first year runners will become extremely helpful to the team next season, as they will also be losing three seniors who consistently run in the top seven.
Freshman Sadie Gollub was once again the first finisher for UR, placing 49th overall in a field of 153 runners with a time of 20:29 on the five-kilometer course.
Next for the team was senior Nora Craighead, who crossed the line at 20:53 in 65th place. Just seven seconds later, fellow senior Whitney Silkworth finished in 70th place, clocking in at 21:01.
Fourth for the ‘Jackets was junior Kellie Hasselwander, who finished in 21:13 and in 80th place. The final scorer for the team was senior Stacy Allen, who placed 83rd and came in at 21:24.
The displacers were freshmen Rachel Given and Hilary Haefner, who placed 86th and 87th, respectively. Both finished in 21:47.
One thing that that the Yellowjackets continued to stay strong in was gap time. The time between the first and the fifth runners was a mere 55 seconds.
This weekend both teams will compete in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships, hosted by SUNY Geneseo and held in Letchworth State Park. Based on last weekend’s results, Izzo is optimisitc.
“I look for continued progress in Saturday’s NCAA Atlantic Region meet,” he said. “I could not be more proud of a group of athletes than I am of this year’s team. They are dedicated, hard working and tough, and I know they will give their very best effort when it counts. Our motto for the meet is ‘everyone pulls their weight on the mule train.'”
The gun goes off at 11 a.m. for the men’s race and at noon for the women.
Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.