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Buffalo Women's Cross Country posts fourth-place finish at Iona Meet of Champions

UB Athletics

Last year, UB Women's Cross Country went down to New York City for Iona's Meet of Champions and came back with a sixth-place finish and spot in the USATFCCCA regional rankings.

This morning, they bettered that showing in 2015 even with a pair of freshman in the scoring five and a third in the top seven, finishing fourth of I think 16 teams. The men's team didn't compete at this meet this year.

I've been noting for the last few weekends that Women's Cross Country looks faster across the board this season, and the longer that continues the fewer caveats I'll include. For comparison, UB's showing last year:

XC Women Iona 2014

And this year:

4. 113 BUFF (23:18.6 1:56:32.9 0:27.7)
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1 16 Chardae Henry FR 23:06.2
2 18 Amy Shaw SO 23:09.7
3 21 Corinne Birchard JR 23:16.6
4 26 Rachel Barich FR 23:26.5
5 32 Melinda Wheeler JR 23:33.9
6 (41) Brittany Fuller FR 23:48.1
7 (51) Morgan Mahoney SO 24:10.9

The biggest names here are the freshmen. Chardae Henry has gotten plenty of pub, but Rachel Barich led the Bulls at Colgate and looks like a key part of the group's scoring this season. I've been hoping that Amy Shaw's strong track season would feed into improvement in the fall, and it sure looks like it has. Melinda Wheeler has basically run the same time as last year and "dropped" from one of UB's top two runners to the fifth spot.

On a team scale, UB's average on the course dropped 30 seconds, and even better (and less caveat-ridden) the team's pack has tightened, with all five Bulls coming in in a 30 second span, and seven in a minute. Elite runners at the top are great, but that's how you win meets and place high - by minimizing your points from runners 3-5.

Regional rankings are released on Monday. Given that Buffalo beat everyone but Princeton, Johns Hopkins and Wisconsin, and (regional) #11 and #12 Iona and Yale were both in the field, I'd expect the Bulls to make another appearance.