This past weekend, the UR Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams took to the course in their first full-length race of the season. The men’s team raced eight kilometer while the women competed in a six kilometer event on their home course at Genesee Valley Park.

The UR men placed seventh out of 20 teams from Division I and Division III schools. While Ohio Northern captured the team title, UR runners made their mark. The ‘Jackets were led by juniors Eric Franklin and Dan Nolte, who captured 21st and 22nd place, respectively. Rounding out the top five for Rochester were seniors Chris D’Antona, Jeremy Hassett and Matt Prohaska. Additionally, Jake Greenberg and Forrest Hangen acted as displacers.

The race was a very respectable full-distance season opener. Although many members of the  team were hoping to run faster times—shown by their personal records—racing conditions did not permit, with wind and rain impacting the runners’ performances.

The times were much slower across the field compared to years past, even with strong competition. A few positive things to note are the 1-5 spread, as well as the early season times even with a hard week of training prior. A spread of 40 seconds is very competitive and demonstrates the depth of the team.

In the women’s race, UR took second place in a very competitive field, just behind Cornell University. Leading the charge for the ‘Jackets were Victoria Stepanova ‘T5, junior Annie Peterson and senior Katie Knox. All three placed in the top 22 out of the field. Junior Audrey McCarthy and freshman Rachel Bargabos rounded out the top five, and senior Anya Joynt and junior Samantha Kitchen scored as displacers.

With this weekend’s performance, UR women’s cross country asserted themselves as a serious competitor in the region. The team beat Division III-ranked teams, such as RIT, and placed second only to Division I perennial powerhouse Cornell University.

Having three runners finishing very near the top of the pack will favor the ‘Jackets as the season progresses. Additionally, the 1-5 spread for the women was approximately 50 seconds—a very competitive outcome considering the number of frontrunners very near the top of the pack.

It is exciting to see both the men’s and women’s teams move forward in the next couple months with the hopes of achieving their full potential. Given the successes of the weekend’s competition, a national bid may very well be within the realm of possibilities—especially for the women’s team.

Kuhrt is a member of the class of 2017.

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