GRAND ISLAND, NY – The University at Buffalo men's and women's cross country teams rolled to victories on Saturday afternoon in their lone home meet of the season, the UB Stampede Invitational as both teams finished first in the five-squad meets. Sunny skies and 60 degree temperatures proved to be ideal conditions for the runners along the course at Beaver Island State Park.
In the women's 6K race, the Bulls posted six of the top eight finishers, including the first four across the line. Katie Sanders led the Bulls as the only individual to finish under 19 minutes. The sophomore finished in 18:57. Freshman Gabby Leo was second in 19:04. Juniors Jackie Cavalluzzo and Caitlin Curry took third and fourth, respectively, with both crossing the finish line in 19:06. Rounding out the scoring for the Bulls were junior Sam Beim in sixth in 19:20, junior Emma Denton in eighth in 19:33, sophomore Becky Martin in 13th in 19:41 and freshman Christina Clarkin in 14th in 19:43. A total of 57 runners competed in the collegiate field.
"Its the first time we had the women's team together and have each group run strong and finish the last kilometer really hard," said cross country head coach Vicki Mitchell. "They ran a very even pace and were strong as a pack. It gives us an idea where we're at before going to the Paul Short meet."
In the men's 8K contest, the Bulls placed seven runners among the top 10 finishers to pick up the team championship. California University of Pennsylvania's Aaron Dinzeo finished first in the individual competition in 25:01.8 as he was followed by four UB runners. Sophomore Zach Ahart finished second in 25:07.9 with freshman Alex Saavedra third in 25:08.9. Senior Dylan Conway finished fourth in 25:16.0. Sophomore Mike Pressler finished fifth in 25:23.4 holding off Rochester's James Vavra, who finished sixth, also in 25:23.4. Rounding out the top 10 for the Bulls were sophomore Andris Goncarovs in seventh in 25:29.2, freshman Zach Krause in eighth in 25:42.2 and freshman Brandon Cowles in 10th in 25:58.8. A total of 58 runners competed in the men's race.
"They planned perfectly. They worked strong and controlled and finished the last mile quite hard," said Mitchell. "For Zach Ahart this was a big breakthrough race and Alex Saavedra is one to keep an eye on."
The UB women scored 16 points with California University of Pennsylvania second at 52. Rochester (80), St. Bonaventure (92) and Geneseo State (144) rounded out the women's field. The UB men collected 21 points to easily outdistance second-place Rochester's 53. California University of Pennsylvania (80), Geneseo State (99) and St. Bonaventure (138) completed the field.
The Bulls are next in action at Lehigh University's Paul Short Invitational, one of the largest competitions on the East Coast, on Friday, September 30.