Bill Ziskin

Cross Country Heads to UMBC for Conference Championship

UAlbany Sports Information   10-27-2016

ALBANY, N.Y.—With the championship season in full swing, the University at Albany’s men and women’s cross country team will head to Baltimore, Maryland this weekend for the 2016 America East Cross Country Championships held in Jerusalem Mill Park. The championship races begin will take place on Saturday, starting with the men’s 8K at 10:00 a.m., followed by the women’s 5K at 11:00 a.m.

“We’re excited for the conference championship,” said Head Coach Matt Jones. “This is one of our main events and the end of the cross country season. We’re looking to put our best foot forward and compete the best we can as a team.”

The Great Danes are returning to competition from a two-week training period, after hosting a home invitational on October 15. Both the men’s and women’s team earned first place overall. Ryan Udvadia led the men to victory with his first place finish, while Cara Sherman placed fourth as the front runner for the women.

In 2015, New Hampshire took the women’s title for the third consecutive year, while UMass Lowell earned the men’s title. The UAlbany women placed second overall—a program high—and the men took eighth.

“Kyle and Ryan have both done a great job,” explains Jones. “They bought into the training, worked hard this summer and season. They’re going to be with the front of the pack. I’m not sure how it’ll shake out, but i’m leaning towards them having a successful meet. They are both in good shape and I'm excited to see what’s going to happen.”

Last year, Kyle Gronostaj was the leader for the Great Danes. He placed eighth in the 8K with 25:26.48 and earned second-team All-Conference. Gronostaj remains a front runner for UAlbany along with Ryan Udvadia, who have both had strong performances this season.
“The men had a great performance at our home invite,” Jones said. “Hopefully, they’re going to get tremendous confidence going into conference. I like how they raced, executed their race plan, and the minimized the gap from first to fifth place. Their average time and overall time was good. If we can duplicate that effort, I think we can compete well for the conference championships.”

The men will face a three-team battle alongside Stony Brook and Maine.

At last year’s conference, Jessica Donohue was the frontrunner for the Great Danes—earning a third place finish in the 5K with a time of 18:35.81 and the first-team All-Conference title. Hannah Smith also made top ten with a time of 18:56.81 for eighth place. Both have returned this season, but Donohue will not be competing. She is currently nursing an injury and focusing on getting healthy for the indoor track season.

Cara Sherman has made great progress from her freshman year,” said Jones. “She’s in really good shape and I expect her to be with that next pack of outstanding individuals competing. I think that newcomer Hannah Reinhardt has done a great job and made a nice impact at our home invite, placing second. Hannah Smith and Schuyler Pruyn were in top the 15 a year ago. If everyone’s healthy and running together, I think we can get some great results and make noise.”

New Hampshire, Stony Brook, and UMass Lowell are the top opponents UAlbany will face this weekend.

“Our women have struggled through some injuries this season,” Jones explains.“The women’s success will depend on how close we can get the pack to the front. We need to succeed in running as a pack as opposed to having one or two individuals up front. We won our home meet with a 44 second gap. We need to do that again and improve in order to be successful this weekend.”

The full 2016 America East Cross Country Championship hosted by UMBC will be available and streamed live on AmericaEast.TV.

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