UR cross country hosted its annual Yellowjacket Invitational at Genesee Valley Park this past weekend. For both teams, Meliora Weekend started off with a bang.

The men’s team ran hard for an impressive sixth-place finish out of 15 teams. It totaled 130 points, with the top three coming in at 18th, 24th and 25th place. The top seven runners were in the top 40 finishers.

‘I felt like our coach [John Izzo] trained and prepared us very well for this meet,” freshman Jamie Vavra, third for UR and 25th overall, said.

He also mentioned that almost the whole team had a personal season record.

‘That’s quite an accomplishment because our course is not known for being very fast,” he said.

Senior Dan Chebot was first for the Yellowjackets, with an impressive time of 26:00.62. Sophomore Jon Pinto and Vavra were close behind with times of 26:14.60 and 26:15.21, respectively.

The men are excited to get into the championship season, and they have high goals for themselves.

‘We’re looking to finish in the top five at Regionals by having our pack improve by about 20 seconds each,” sophomore Craig Baumgartner said.

In the Regional meet, UR will see strong competition in SUNY Plattsburgh, St. Lawrence University, Ithaca College and The College of New Jersey.

Vavra was very pleased after the meet on Saturday.

‘It was a great end to the regular season and an even better lead into the championship season,” Vavra said.

The Yellowjackets are competing in league championships in Atlanta, Ga. on Nov. 1.

The women’s team also had a great race this weekend, finishing in fourth place overall. As far as Division III national and regional rankings are concerned, however, it was equivalent to a second place finish for the ‘Jackets, because two of the teams were from Canada. The field was strong at the Invite, with 16 schools racing their top runners. The Yellowjackets had a solid group finish, with just over 17 seconds separating the second through fifth place finishers. Junior Sadie Gollub and freshman Hillary Snyder finished first and second, respectively, for the ‘Jackets.

‘Our team is really trying hard to qualify for Nationals, and these last three races [before regionals] are really important,” Snyder said. ‘I really want our whole team to make Nationals.”

The intensity of the ‘Jackets was evident this weekend in their strong finishes. The women will also be heading to Atlanta, Ga. to compete in the league championships in two weeks.

Rogers is a member of the class of 2012.

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