Cats prepare for nearing league playoffs

This past weekend, the cross-country team finished their regular season after having competed in the 47th Annual Albany Cross Country Invitational.

The race that took place at Albany Universeity acted as the team’s last rehearsal before the America East playoffs that take place two weeks from now on Saturday, Nov 2.

The team finished in second place in the invitational out of nine other schools with a total 79 points overall.

Middlebury College finished first in the meet, sweeping the team titles at the annual meet. The Middlebury Panthers’ men’s team finished with 22 points overall.

Vermont senior Aaron Szotka was the first Catamount runner to place, finishing seventh overall with a time of 25:53.

Six of UVM’s runners finished in the top-25 in Saturday’s 8k race on the University of Albany campus.

After Szotka, sophomores Dan Moroney and Thomas O’Leary finished 5 seconds apart and placed 12th and 15th, respectively.

First-year Devin Motivala, junior Mike Baccari and sophomores Oliver Scofield and Fletcher Hazelhurst finished not long after to round out Vermont’s top seven.

On Saturday’s race, head coach Matt Belfield said, “A lot of people did a really nice job today. I thought the guys ran well. They concentrated pretty hard on what they wanted to accomplish today.”

“We’re looking pretty good going forward. This conference is tough but I think we will be ready to have our best performance of the year, Belfield said.”

At last week’s New England Championships, the women’s cross country team finished eighth out of 43 teams with 248 points at Franklin Park in Boston.

Senior Yolanda Ngarembe finished in 9th place overall, with a 17:42 time. Sophomore Alicia Clark alsos finished in the top 20 overall with a time of 18:08.

First-year Nikki Braceras placed 27th overall with a race time of 18:15. Senior Kirsten Weberg earned 47th in the race.

The top four women’s runners did not compete in the Albany Cross Country Invitational to rest for the America East Cross Country Championships that will take place in 2 weeks.

“We got some work to do and most of that work really requires rest,” Belfield said. “People just need to take care of themselves and they’ll get a little boost.”

The men’s team finished 22nd in the New England Championships with Szotka leading the way.

In the Paul Short run in Bethlehem, Pa., hosted by Lehigh University on Saturday, Oct. 5. The women’s team finished 19th overall in the invitational out of the 450 schools that took part in the 6K Gold race.

For the men, Aaron Szotka led the way again for Vermont, finishing in the top 200.

At the UMass Invitational, the Catamounts had four top 10 finishers. These runners included, Dan Moroney and Fletcher Hazlehurst for the men, and Kirsten Weberg and Yolanda Ngarembe for the women.

The 2013 America East Cross Country Championships will take on Binghamton University at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov 2. The championship is hosted by the Bearcats.