The Binghamton men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the America East (AE) Championship held at UMBC on Saturday. Both the men and women finished in seventh place.
Heading into the race, both squads did not figure to be among the top finishers, as they are both in different phases of a rebuild. The men have several runners taking redshirt seasons in order to compete at the top of the conference next year, as they did in the two previous years when they finished in first (2014) and third (2015).
On the women’s side, Binghamton is a very young team that will look to develop in the coming years.
Graduate student Nate Kozyra led the pack for the men’s team, finishing the 8,000-meter course 31st overall with a time of 25:48.87. The rest of the Bearcats’ scorers all finished within a minute of Kozyra. Sophomore Daryn Hutchings (25:59.09) and junior Billy Hector (26:03.73) took 36th and 37th place, while junior Tom Moshier (26:16.89) and junior Matt Gill (26:24.11) came in 47th and 52nd, respectively.
“We had a few guys that ran pretty well, and we had a couple guys who didn’t have a great day,” said BU head coach Annette Acuff. “It was a tough, hilly course, so it was just a mix.”
The men ended with an average time of 26:07, finishing seventh in a field of nine schools. Even though Maine’s average time was a second faster than Stony Brook’s, the Seawolves took first place in a tightly contested competition, edging Maine by one point. Acuff noted that whie the AE is not known for cross country, but the level of talent remains high.
“Our conference is underrated,” Acuff said. “It’s tough, so it’s good to get have that level of competition for us.”
On the women’s side, the Bearcats failed to improve on their seventh place performance from last year. Although they didn’t move up in the standings, Acuff was content with how her team performed.
“We had a lot of girls run much faster on this course, which is much harder than the Albany course,” Acuff said. “Time-wise, a lot of them ran pretty well.”
Junior Allison Davis (18:17.57) paced the Bearcats, placing 27th overall on the 5,000 meter course. She has consistently led the Bearcats all season, and looks to do so throughout next year as well.
The rest of the team’s scorers did well to keep pace with Davis, all finishing within 40 seconds of her. Senior Alana MacDonald (18:32.32) came in 39th, and junior Michelle Crook (18:36.83) finished in 42nd place. Rounding out Binghamton’s scoring were freshman Jessica Cueva-Scarpelli (18:44.28) and sophomore Erika Yamazaki (18:50.17).
“We have a good amount of young runners for us who have improved over the year,” Acuff stated.
Junior Elinor Purrier of New Hampshire won the race in an AE Conference record time of 16:27.04. She dominated the rest of the field, finishing 34 seconds before any other runner and leading her team to the title.
The Bearcats are now focused on the NCAA Northeast Regional on Friday, Nov. 11. The first race is set for 11 a.m. at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, New York.