This past weekend, the ‘Jackets travelled to Letchworth State Park to compete in the NCAA Division III Atlantic Region Cross Country Championships.
The meet, hosted by SUNY Geneseo, was particularly significant because, as the cumulation of a long season of hard work, there were very high stakes. Teams that place in the top two spots receive automatic bids to the NCAA Division III National Cross Country Championship. Additionally, 16 wild-cards are awarded to teams across all regions who raced exceptionally well but were not capable of securing an automatic bid.
On the women’s side of the competition, the 26th-ranked Yellowjackets placed fifth in the field out of 37 teams. SUNY Geneseo defended their home turf and won the regional title.
Junior Sam Kitchen commented on the team effort throughout the season, noting the large amounts of personal records (PRs) achieved by the team. “Everyone PRed this season, which is a testament to the full team effort that concluded with us getting a bid to nationals. We really ran as a team this season. Everyone made sacrifices, and it is great to see our hard work pay off.”
This team performance was well-represented at regionals, with senior Catie Knox and junior Anne Peterson leading the charge with times of 22:29 and 22:47, respectively, and junior Sam Kitchen, senior Anya Joynt and junior Audrey McCarthy following close behind. With their depth, the Yellowjackets were able to ensure that their season would continue.
On Sunday, when wild-card teams were selected, the women’s cross country team at UR discovered that they would be traveling to Wisconsin to compete against the nation’s best in Division III. This is the first national meet appearance for the women’s cross country team since 1987.
When asked about nationals, Joynt, a captain, said, “We are looking forward to all of the fun at nationals, but are more excited to cap an awesome season with a great performance. ” It is exciting to see such improvement from year to year and a Rochester athletic team see its season all the way to fruition.
In the men’s competition, UR placed 13th out of 41 teams. Once again, home team SUNY Geneseo captured the victory. Although Rochester battled hard throughout the day, this meet marks the end of their 2015 season. While the effort did not achieve the original season goal of advancing to nationals, the team should be very proud of what they have accomplished this season.
With a very young team competing, there is great potential moving forward. Out of the seven runners competing, all but one will be returning next season. At the regional meet, freshman Forrest Hangen led the charge with a time of 26:17, narrowly missing all-region honors. Junior Dan Nolte and senior captain Jeremy Hassett followed shortly behind, with respective times of 26:43 and 26:47, respectively. Freshman Ben Martell and junior Matt Prohaska rounded out scoring positions.
With a young roster of talented runners, the team will look to improve upon their performance next season.
Amos is a member of the class of 2018.
Kuhrt is a member of the class of 2017.