|Michael Peterson, a second year Glass Sculpture major, finishes the Yellowjacket Invitational held on October 15th at Genesee Valley Park. Peterson finished 69th overall with a time of 28:40.
Saturday, October 15 saw rain in buckets and mud in gallons; winds
to knock you on your back; and puddles you could drown in. But
despite the cold, the wet and the mud, RIT’s men’s and women’s cross
country teams dressed down to their shorts and wrung out their socks to
compete. An impressively dedicated few were there to watch.
Hosted by the University of Rochester at Genesee Valley Park, the 2011
Yellowjacket Invitational was a friendly meet intended to offer some
experience to younger runners, as well as get the veterans geared up
for championship season. The course consisted of several loops around
the park, amounting to a 5k race for the women and an 8k for the men. The course boasted slippery pavement and muddy obstacles throughout.
On the men’s side, the top three finishers for RIT were first year
Undeclared Engineering Technology major Kyle Reid, third year
Electrical Engineering major Michael Krenzer, and second year
Photojournalism major Josh Barber, helping lead the team to a seventh
place finish out of 16 teams. The women’s side also saw a seventh place
finish out of 13 teams as fourth year Photography major Erin LaFave
completed her fifth straight race as RIT’s top finisher. Coming in 12th
overall out of 170 runners, LaFave completed the course in 19:10, just
half a second behind the top runner from Western Ontario. The women’s
side also saw strong performances from fourth year Computer Science
major Kate Dubuisson and third year ASL Interpreting major Amanda
Dole, finishing with times of 20:48 and 20:50, respectively.
The course covered both grass and pavement, making it a struggle
for many runners to keep their footing throughout the race. Several
competitors reached the finish line with mud down their backs from
spills taken over the messy terrain. Many of the teams were well prepared
for the conditions, though, as they have to face chilly, wet Rochester
weather in practice. RIT’s men’s and women’s team practice together
every day — and in all conditions — often heading into Rochester for
10 or 12 mile runs once a week.
The cross-country season generally starts in mid-to-late August and
goes until late November with championships. Having such a long season
makes it difficult to stay focused and continually try to improve, but the
Tigers have shown that they’re up to the challenge. Team leader and fifth
year Mechanical Engineering major John Holleran commented on the
makeup of the teams, saying, “We’re a very traditional team; believe it or
not, we have our own niche here and we actually get some good support.”
Huddled in puddles and shivering through parkas, the small crowd the
invitational drew kept in good cheer with signs, shouts of encouragement
and even the occasional pom-pom. RIT fans produced a particularly
strong show of support, as Prefontaine noted, “I think because this is
technically our home course, this was one of the better meets for RIT
Being a Tiger Den Event, the race drew some support from other
student athletes on campus, and rewarded friends and families showing
RIT cheer with goodies and pizza. Teaming up with the Center for
Campus Life this year, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee is
looking to promote athletic support through giveaways and events at
various sporting events throughout the year.
The Cross Country teams will be competing at the New York State
Collegiate Track Conference hosted by St. Lawrence on Saturday,
October 22. The men and women’s team are ranked 7th and 6th,
respectively and will be running against such rivals as University of
Rochester and St. Lawrence.
The next Tiger Den Event will be a Ladies Night at the Women’s Hockey
game vs. Utica on November 5.