The University at Buffalo men's and women's cross country seasons opened this past weekend at the Tommy Evans Invitational in Akron, Ohio. The men were two points short at the finish line, dropping a 30-28 decision to MAC rival Kent State.
Todd Ludden paced the Bulls with a stellar time of 20:44.10 seconds to take first place in the four-mile race. Ludden finished 12 seconds ahead of his closest pursuer, Gareth Price of Kent State. The Bulls placed three other finishers in the top 10: Jeremie Slick (20:59.90), fourth place; Joel Beatty (21:01.80), fifth place and Rick Stewart (21:10.20), seventh place.
The Bulls, however, were one man short. Freshman Steve Strelick's thirteenth-place finish was not enough as Kent State placed five runners in the top 10 to eke out a victory.
The women posted 68 points for a third-place finish, 18 points behind second-place Akron and 48 points behind champion Kent State. Kent State dominated the Women's 5,000-meter race, placing seven runners in the top eight spots. First-place was taken by Akron's Bobby Hardbarger, who posted a time of 17:57.30. Melissa Burrows was the Bulls' top runner, finishing tenth of the 38-women field with a time of 19:36.90.
Freshman Tarynn Knarr had a strong debut, posting a time of 20:00.10 to place thirteenth overall.
The Bulls will get their second taste of Buckeye country this weekend to compete in the Ohio University Invitational in Athens, Ohio.