The cross country team continued its recent run with another strong performance as the men’s team finished second overall and the women’s team finished fifth overall at the Empire 8 Conference Meet last weekend.
The men’s team had three Pioneers finish in the top ten, which was an improvement from the weekend before as they only had two finish in the top ten. Kyle Cairns finished first for the Pioneers in sixth place. Cairns finished with a time of 25:44.0, which was his best finish this season. He also broke another school record in the process.
“It honestly felt like a dream,” Cairns said. “I went into the race with the mind set to place as high as I could to help the team. Breaking the school record was just a nice little bonus.”
Freshman Tyler Wright and junior Erik Winberg finished ninth and tenth respectively. Wright had a time of 26:01.5 and Winberg had a time of 26:01.9.
As for the rest of the team, the Pioneers had all seven runners finish in the top 25. Josh Lee and Tyler Sutton finished right behind one another finishing 17th and 18th. Nick Ashton and Dan Block finished behind each other as well finishing 24th and 25th. The outstanding performance UC had led to their second overall finish in the meet.
“I was happy with the result and I was happy with how the team finished,” Cairns said.
Senior Ashton Villeneuve led the women’s team with a seventh place overall finish and season best time of 18:54.7. Freshman Renee Lewis was the only other Pioneer to finish in the top 25 with a 19:47.8 time finishing 24th overall.
As for the rest of the team, freshman Kaitlyn Phillips and sophomore Makenna Cooley finished in the top 30. Phillips finished 27th with a time of 20:06.5 and Cooley finished 29th with a time of 20:23.1. The women’s team finished fifth out of nine teams that raced in the Empire 8 Championships.
The men’s team feels very accomplished with the way they ran on Saturday, and they believe all of their hard work has paid off.
“It means the world to me,” Cairns said. “The guys I’ve been running with have been training hard all season and there aren’t enough words to thank them for making this season a memorable one.”
The Pioneers believe that next year can be successful as well.
“It just feels great to be part of this program and I’m looking forward to the future,” Wright said.
The men’s team was able to see three runners make All-Conference teams after their performance on Saturday. Cairns received All-Conference first team honors, as Wright and Winberg received All-Conference second team honors. Villenueve represented the women’s team as she received All-Conference first team honors.
The men’s and women’s cross country teams will have a week to prepare for the ECAC Division III Championships which will be on Saturday at Williams College. The team is more than ready for the challenge that awaits them and now it’s all about sticking to what they have been working on all season.
“All the work is already done,” Cairns said. “Now it’s about being smart and making sure you are rested.”