Last weekend the Maroons placed sixth in a tough field at the UAA championship at Van Cortlandt Park in New York. Second-year Bill Whitmore and third-year Moe Bahrani each earned All-UAA honors for their performances at the championship.
Whitmore came in 11th place with a time of 26:03.6, while Bahrani finished a mere two seconds behind for a 13th place finish.
“You know our conference is just tough. We knocked off a team that’s ranked [30th, Case Western] in the country, but we still didn’t make the cut,” head coach Chris Hall said. “Unfortunately, you have to have your best day. You can’t go out there and have anything less than a meet that was the best I could have run.”
“I was very pleased with the way that Billy and Moe ran, but most of our guys were pretty disappointed in the day,” he added.
The Maroons encountered the problem they have been facing throughout the season, that although individual performances are great, they do not determine a win. Despite all of the men having good race days, they have faced difficulty doing so en masse. In a conference like the UAAs, that is essential.
“We ran at the tail end of the lead pack but could not maintain through the backhills, which hurt us in the end,” Whitmore said. “Teams like Rochester and Brandeis were able to score several runners between Moe [Bahrani] and Dan [Povitsky].”
The team was quick to dismiss one factor as a possibility: the hills. Van Cortlandt is an extremely hilly course, culminating in the aptly named cemetery hill.
“I don’t think we’ve ever been affected negatively by hills,” Hall continued. “I think we lost contact in the hills. I think in general we liked the course. It may have played a factor but we certainly can’t use that as an excuse.”
With that in mind all there is for the team to do is shake it off and prepare for the regional competition.
But they are not just looking forward to going to regionals; they are looking to place there.
“For us to qualify to nationals we have to adopt a ‘race for place’ mentality,” said Whitmore. “The competition will be fierce, but we can’t be afraid to challenge ourselves after all the hard miles we’ve put into this season.”
“Our kids have every intention of lacing up their spikes and fighting the good fight. We’ve got great talent and work ethic and I think our kids have heart,” Hall agreed. “ I think that will put us in a position to have a great regional meet.”
The men will race at the regional meet on November 13.