MADISON, CT – The University at Buffalo's men's and women's cross country teams finished the 2012 season on Friday with middle of the pack finishes at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships at Hammonasset State Park. The UB women turned in their highest finish since 2006 with a 15th-place showing among 37 programs while the UB men placed 16th among 34 schools.
The course had suffered the double-whammy of last week's Superstorm Sandy and the Nor'easter that affected the same region on Wednesday but had dried enough by Friday to provide soft footing for the runners.
In the women's 6K race, Kara Patrick was UB's top finisher as she placed 76th among 252 runners. Patrick finished the 6K course in 21:35.6, an improvement of 43 seconds from her team debut at the MAC Championships on October 27. Joining Patrick across the finish line for the Bulls were Sam Beim in 92nd place in 21:55.2, Katie Sanders in 103rd place in 22:06.1, Shelby Janutol in 115th place in 22:16.3 and Emma Denton in 131st place in 22:28.7. All four runners improved their MAC times by 25-35 seconds on Friday.
In the men's 10K meet, the first time at the distance this season for the Bulls, Mike Pressler was the top finisher, placing 45th among 239 entrants as he finished in 31:27.9. Zack Krause was UB's next finisher in 62nd place in 31:42.7. Rounding out UB's scorers were Zach Ahart in 110th place in 32:36.7, Alex Saavedra in 130th place in 32:47.5 and Isaac Hagen in 131st place in 32:48.0.
Iona won the men's title with 45 points as the Gaels' Mitch Goose was the individual champion in 30:04.5. Providence took the women's team title with 46 points as the Friars had four of the top eight finishers. Dartmouth's Abbey D'Agostino, last year's individual champion when the race was held at UB, won the women's race in 19:51.1.
The UB women scored 517 points for their 15th-place showing for their highest finish since 2006 when the Bulls also placed 15th. It also broke a string of 25th- and 26th-places over the last three seasons. The UB men scored 466 points, three points behind 15th-place Stony Brook's 463.
"The women ran not only their best race of the season, but their best race in several years," said head coach Vicki Mitchell. "They moved extremely well through the race and showed their strength over the last mile. It was just a taste of the direction our distance program is heading. I am very proud of the women's work and very happy for our seniors to put it together at their last cross country race."
Mitchell also commented on her men's performance. "Mike Pressler ran a very strong race as did Zack Krause. Zach Ahart has been suffering from a very bad Achilles' heel and he pushed through a very painful race to help the team. While it was not where we had hoped to finish as a team, there were strong individual efforts. We just need to tighten up the gap."