The Binghamton men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the Paul Short Run at Lehigh University last weekend. Both squads finished in the top third of their fields.
The women finished 13th of 42 teams, while the men finished 14th of 45 teams.
The Bearcat women finished the 5,000-meter course with an average time of 22:33. Princeton dominated the women’s race with an average time of 21:15, 44 seconds faster than second-place Queen’s University. Binghamton placed four of its six runners in the top 100.
Junior Allison Davis led the way for the Bearcats, finishing 37th overall with a time of 22:02. Sophomore Erika Yamazaki, who finished 82nd, was followed closely by seniors Alana MacDonald and Eileen O’Hara, who finished 95th and 96th, respectively.
“Across the board on the women’s side it was as good, if not better, than what I expected,” said head coach Annette Acuff. “The women have been running consistently well as a team the last two meets.”
On the men’s side, Princeton was also at the top with an average time of 25:00. BU finished with a time of 25:54, less than a minute off the leader’s pace.
“It was a solid performance, but overall we were hoping for maybe a little bit better,” Acuff said.
Although Binghamton performed well, Acuff knows the Bearcats were not at their strongest, in terms of both performance and health.
“We had a couple of guys who had a rough day,” she said. “We had some guys that had been sick, and then one of our guys fell. It was just a combination of things.”
Graduate student Nate Kozyra, who completed the 8,000-meter course in 25:15, was the Bearcats’ top finisher. Coming in behind Kozyra was sophomore Daryn Hutchings, who recorded a time of 25:53. Kozyra and Hutchings have been BU’s top two finishers in each race this season. Both are key to the men’s teams success this season, but Acuff knows she needs more from the rest of the team as well.
“We’re definitely focused on the full team effort, not just our top two guys,” Acuff said. “We don’t want our entire team reliant necessarily on those two guys.”
The competition was the largest race that the men and women have competed in this season. Prior to Saturday, the greatest number of teams they had run against was five.
”It’s a great meet because it is a great course,” Acuff said. “It simulates the NCAA Regional Meet, so the kids get used to running in a huge field.”
For the women, Davis’ success continues to be essential to the team’s progress. She has been BU’s top finisher in both races this season, finishing first in the Binghamton Invitational before taking the top spot at Lehigh.
Both teams will have two weeks to prepare for their next meet, the Albany Invitational. This will mark BU’s final meet before the America East Championships. Acuff is hoping for a strong showing to prepare the team for the conference title race.
“On the men’s side, we need to run a little better [and] more consistently as an entire team,” Acuff said. “[The women] have just been running consistently well, so I’m excited about where they’re at.”
The Albany Invitational is scheduled for Oct. 15. The women’s race is set to get underway at 12:45 p.m., while the men’s is set for 1:30 p.m. in Albany, New York.