Hoping for Victory in First Home Run



An 18th-place finish by co-captain Todd Ludden highlighted the men's cross country team's performance at the Lehigh University Paul Short Run last weekend.

Luden's time of 25:15.29 was only a minute off the lead and five seconds better than last week. He has consistently been the Bulls' top runner this season.

The men's 10th-place finish upped their record to 6-1 overall, while the women pulled out 16th among 39 competitors. The women are now 6-3 for the season.

This was the first true invitational for both teams. All previous meets had been canceled because of inclement weather and the Sept. 11th attacks.

"A couple of guys had bad performances, but if everyone has a good race we can finish in the top five in the conference," said Ludden.

For UB, Jerimie Slick followed Ludden in 38th place. Two of the next three spots were placed by freshmen getting their first tastes of large invitationals.

"It is hard to expect a lot from the freshmen, but it is real good for their experience. They definitely did well for their first race," added Ludden.

Senior Rick Stewart was UB's third-best finisher, rounding out the team's upperclass leadership.

"This is the best team we've had in my five years. We're the tightest group, focused on the common goal of making each other better," said co-captain Eric Czubaj.

The team next runs this weekend at home, where they will look to gain momentum for the MAC championship meet next week. A strong showing in front of a large crowd could give the team enough of a challenge to spur victory.

"This should be a nice tough race. We want a top-five scorer this time, and the leaders up there to be really tough, and the rest of the guys need to be close up to them," said Czubaj.

For the women, a top-50 finish out of a 269-runner field by senior Melissa Burrows highlighted their 16th place finish. The extra distance - 6 km instead of the usual 5 - did not hinder the Bulls.

"We beat a lot of the teams in our conference," said freshman Jenny Koeppel.

Many of the freshmen said they are excited for their home crowd support in their first UB meet this weekend. The women are also looking at the bigger picture, using the small meet to tune up for the MAC championships.

"The UB meet will give us a good hard workout, to help build our confidence," added Koeppel. "But we have a young team looking forward to the conference meet, looking to shock a bunch of teams."

This report compiled by Staff Writer Daniel Stein.