This weekend, both UR men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Atlanta, Ga. to compete in the University Athletic Association Championship meet hosted by Emory University. Both teams came out strong, but the women in particular really shone on their 6-kilometer course with a time of 22:17.02. Freshman Lauren Norton finished an outstanding race in seventh place overall.

‘It felt so good to cross the finish line and realize the whole team was also running one of the best races they’ve ever run,” Norton said.

Sophomore Jon Pinto was the top runner for the men, clocking in at 26:59.65 for the 8-kilometer course. He finished in 34th place overall.

The UR women had a solid race, and several runners had season-best performances. UR fought against some of the most competitive teams in the nation and did well, finishing fifth with 145 points. Norton and the next UR runner, junior Sadie Gollub who finished 18th were split by just over 29 seconds.

Less than 30 seconds also split UR’s third through fifth place finishers. Junior Lisa Cole was 35th overall, finshing in a time of 23:29.47. Junior Allie McComb was right behind in 42nd place with a time of 23:53.66, and junior Suzanne Giunta rounded off the top five in 43rd place with a 23:58.53 finish. UR’s displacers were junior Heather Graham, 47th overall in 24:07.22, and freshman Hillary Snyder, 52nd overall with a time of 24:33.13.

‘For the most part, I think we were all feeling nervous in the beginning,” Norton said. ‘We knew going in to the race we had to pull it together and run well because the field was so tough, and I know we did that.”

The team as a whole had a great race. Next week, the Yellowjackets will run in the New York State Collegiate Track Conference cross country championships. It features teams such as SUNY Geneseo, whose women’s team is currently ranked ninth and men’s team is ranked 11th in the country, according to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Poll.

The men raced hard but finished in eighth place as a team in the race.

‘It was one of the most competitive, if not the most competitive, races of the season,” freshman Jamie Vavra said.

Vavra went on to note that the team is looking ahead and training at their maximum level to prepare for NYSCTC championships next weekend.

‘As a team, it was not our strongest race,” Vavra said. ‘Our focus was not quite on.”

The men finished with a total of 204 points. As usual, the ‘Jackets had a small gap time and a solid grouping between their top five runners, with less than 24 seconds separating the pack.

Pinto (34th, 26:59.65) was followed closely by Vavra (40th, 27:12.53) and sophomore Dan Lane (41st, 27:15.25). Sophomore Brian Lang (43rd, 27:21.24) and senior Dan Chebot (46th, 27:23.23) came soon after. The displacers were senior Tom Brekke in 27:27.25 (48th) and sophomore Jacob Tutmaher in 27:40.60 (55th).

‘Concerning states, we just have to forget the past and focus on the future,” Vavra said. ‘We can be really competitive and possibly win states if we perform up to our capabilities, which I know we all can.”

On Saturday, Nov. 15, both teams will travel to St. Lawrence University for the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships.

Based on their performance at this meet, the Yellowjackets may receive a berth in the national championships. In addition, individual runners can qualify for the race.

Rogers is a member of the class of 2012.

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