Cross country: Lady Bears take UAAs, men take 4th

| Sports Reporter

Senior Molly Schlamb, above, took sixth place in the UAA championship meet on Saturday morning as the women’s cross country team took first place to capture the UAA title. (Scott Bressler | Campus in Focus)

Senior Molly Schlamb, above, took sixth place in the UAA championship meet on Saturday morning as the women’s cross country team took first place to capture the UAA title. (Scott Bressler | Campus in Focus)

Junior Taryn Surtees won the individual title for the second year in a row as the women’s cross country team captured the University Athletic Association title on Saturday morning. The men’s team took fourth overall, following New York, Emory and Carnegie Mellon universities.

The team combined for a total of 37 points, beating out Case Western Reserve and NYU for the first-place spot. Leading the team was senior Molly Schlamb, finishing sixth overall with a time of 23:48, to be followed by junior Sangeeta Hardy (23:49:04) in seventh, and sophomore Liz Phillips (23:55:72) in eighth.

Junior Kwin Keuter led the men, finishing 12th overall with a time of 26:47. Finishing just moments later was junior David Spandorfer, who took 13th with a time of 26:49. Freshman David Hamm came in 26th overall with a time of 27:18:05, which earned him the title of the UAA Rookie of the Year.

Despite the teams’ standings, there were many who didn’t achieve personal bests—the fault of which seemed to be the weather and the condition in which the field was.

“The meet was a slopfest, which made for very slow times, but we competed well,” senior Alex Bearden said.

With the men’s top runner, Michael Burnstein, out sick with pneumonia, Bearden made it very clear that the team had to find other reserves to do its best. “We were running without our top guy, but we had some guys come through with clutch performances right when we needed it,” Bearden said.

Overall, the Bears view this meet as a success. “The men’s team really redeemed itself after having a disappointing conference meet last year,” said Keuter, who had his best race of the season. “Our competition at regionals will be really tough, but our success today shows that we’re capable of great things.”

The race was undoubtedly a success for the women’s team, who beat out the second-place team Case Western Reserve, last year’s champion, by over 22 points. “It was such a great team meet, and it was awesome to see teammates working together,” said Schlamb, a co-captain. “I love conference because it’s really focused on being a team, and so to win, that was really fun. We had a lot of people really step up to the challenge yesterday.” The Lady Bears had six runners placed in the top 25.

On Nov. 14, both Bears teams return for the NCAA regionals meet in Oshkosh, Wis.

“We lost to three teams [yesterday] who could all finish in the top 10 at NCAAs,” senior Zach Griffen said.

Despite that, the team remains motivated.

“If we are firing on all cylinders at regionals in two weeks, we will be going to nationals expecting nothing but a top-10 finish,” Bearden said.

“This is one special group of girls, because we care so much about each other outside of running,” Schlamb said. “It makes it that much easier to fight through the pain of racing each other, and instead focus on what’s really important.”