Courtesy of Alyssa Arre

The UR cross country team had another stellar effort last Saturday at the New York State Track Conference Championship at St. Lawrence University, but realized through the experience that there’s still more work to be done. The 27th-ranked men’s team took second out of 10 teams, finishing only behind national power St. Lawrence University. The men racked up 53 points to St. Lawrence’s 31, but crushed third-place Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (107 points).

The lead ’Jackets started conservatively, pacing themselves off of a pack of St. Lawrence and RIT runners , but gradually moved up throughout the race, eventually coming up just short of St. Lawrence’s top pack.

Out in front for the men were senior Jamie Vavra and Take Five Scholar Frank Ramirez, who finished second and fourth respectively, completing the muddy 8K in respective times of 25:51 and 25:56 to secure two first team all NYSCTC finishes.  Rounding out the top seven were sophomore Adam Pacheck (10th, 26:25), sophomore Yuji Wakimoto (17th, 26:56), senior Jason Zayac (20th, 27:00), senior Andrew Fleisher (21st, 27:01) and freshman Mark Rollfs (22nd, 27:08). Rolffs was one of the top freshman finishers at the meet. Pacheck was second team all-NYSCTC, while Wakimoto, Zayac and Fleisher made third team.

Despite the solid finish, the runners and coaches felt that there was more that could have been done.

“We ran solid,”  Ramirez said. “But they [St. Lawrence] had a good day, and we didn’t have our best day.”

“I thought it was a solid performance all around,” coach John Izzo said. “We just need to get our fourth and fifth men up with our leaders, which is something that we can work on for later meets.”

The women’s team also had an impressive finish — albeit one that they wish to improve on when they race at Regionals and in Chicago at the University Athletic Association Championships.  They finished third of 10 teams behind St. Lawrence and Ithaca.

Leading the ’Jackets was sophomore Danielle Bessette, who finished the 5K course in 19:53, good for 10th and a second-team all NYSCTC spot.  Senior Hillary Snyder (12th, 19:57), junior Zarah Quinn (13th, 20:03), senior Meg Battin (25th, 20:28), junior Meg Ogle (27th, 20:32), freshman Victoria Stepanova (31st, 20:40) and sophomore Kate Thomas (56th, 21:16) wrapped up the top seven.  Snyder and Quinn joined Bessette on the second team all-NYSCTC.

Snyder, Quinn and Bessette established great positions   early in the race and improved their standing as the race progressed.The women’s team looks to improve in the same areas as the men — getting their fourth and fifth runners closer to their top three.
Both teams compete at the UAA Championship Meet next Saturday at the University of Chicago before returning to St. Lawrence for the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship in three weeks.

Lane is a Take Five Scholar.

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