I'll assume that most of us were more focused on football than Cross Country, but the running Bulls hit the second weekend of their season with their annual home meet, the UB Stampede. Each team finished in second place, matching last year's performance, to teams from Pitt, but seven teams in each race (including MAC rival Toledo) meant more and stronger competition than in 2014.
This looks more than last week's results like what we can expect this season. Kemp, Berge, Bruce, and Crimmins were all regulars last year, and Webb raced a bit early in the season. Servos is of course, a freshman, but Kaiser is a new name, not on the roster yet.
From UB's release on the meet, the men's team aimed for today to not be too competitive, but rather a fitness check, and the group ran as a pack for the first two miles. It's early in the season, as I said last week, so don't read too much into this, but last year's seventh runner ran this race in 27:25. It certainly was a slow course in the rain today, but I think it rained last year, as well, and right now it looks like UB has a faster back end to their top group.
We saw a hint of this last week, and I'm still wary, but UB is across the board faster than last year, here by 50 seconds on average over last year. The staff has been excited about Chardae Henry as the fastest incoming freshman in program history, but it looks like Rachel Barich, who led the Bulls last week, is also going to step right into the top group. Birchard, Hopkins, Shaw, and Kemp are all returning names, which makes me feel good about their improvement.
The schedule pretty quickly ramps up to some high-profile meets. Only the women are in action next week heading to the Bronx for the Iona Meet of Champions, and both teams will gear up for the Paul Short Invitational hosted by Lehigh in early October.