Courtesy of UR Athletics

The UR cross country team returned from the Harry F. Anderson Invitational, hosted by Roberts Wesleyan College on Saturday with another solid performance under its belt. The men’s and women’s teams employed slightly different strategies in the race, but both delivered impressive finishes.

The men’s team, ranked No. 27  in the nation in the latest Coach’s Association poll, performed as their rank would suggest, winning the meet for the fourth consecutive year with a score of 40 points. Leading the ‘Jackets was senior Andrew Fleisher, who finished the eight-kilometer  course in 26:49, good for third place.  Fleisher was supported by senior Paul Kintner (sixth, 26;59) and freshmen Stephan Tewksbury (ninth, 27:13), Mark Rollfs (10th, 27:14) and Drew Zeccola (13th, 27:26).  Leaving nothing to chance, junior Joe Mozingo and senior Greg Hartnett (14th and 15th) acted as the team’s displacers, both finishing in 27:32.
The men’s team enacted a strategy of patience in the early miles of the race.

“At the mile [Fleisher] gave me a glare of disdain, because he was not among the top runners,” coach Carl Johnston said.  “By three miles, he had passed most of the field and that glare had disappeared.”

The Jackets saved their effort for the middle miles, where the other 11 teams could not handle the pace, giving UR the victory.
The women had an impressive race as well, finishing second of 12 teams behind Roberts Wesleyan, with a score of 56 points.

Leading the women’s team was sophomore Danielle Bessette, who finished the five-kilometer course in 19:39 for sixth place.  Rounding out the scoring positions were junior Meg Ogle (ninth, 19:54), senior Meg Battin (11th, 19:58), freshman Victoria Stepanova (12th, 19:59) and senior Hillary Snyder (17th, 20:16). The displacers were freshman Michelle McLaughlin (28th, 20:45) and sophomore Kate Thomas (34th, 20:55).  The women’s team worked this week on running as a pack, the success of which can be measured by the top five spread of 37 seconds.

Both teams will be split in this weekend’s competition. The top nine runners from each team will be racing on Friday at the Brooks Paul Short Run at Lehigh University, one of the most prestigious cross country meets in the nation. The rest of the team will compete at the SUNY Geneseo Invitational, where they will have a true test against fifth-ranked Geneseo.  Given their success in the early season, however, the men and women are poised for greatness in this important weekend.

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