Cross country teams make adjustments that yield results in Oberlin

The Buffalo State men’s and women’s cross country team’s were back in action Saturday for the first time since running at a pre-national meet in Hanover, Ind., two weeks ago.

Head coach Dustin Dimit said he was happy with how the pre-national meet went. The weather conditions were rough and the Bengals were facing some good competition, so he saw it as a chance to prepare them for meets later on in the year.

The team’s experience in poor weather conditions two weeks ago came into play Saturday at the Oberlin Inter-Regional Rumble. Dimit said that he has begun to see the adjustments made from what they learned in prior meets, translating into results.

“They really raced a lot smarter and a lot better and had some good results,” Dimit said.

Coming into the race, the field was full of fierce competition, with seven nationally ranked teams on the women’s side and five nationally ranked teams on the men’s side. In addition, the field featured many regionally ranked teams.

Overall, the men finished 20th out of 31 teams, and the women finished 20th out of 34 teams. The Bengals’ top finishers were Bumkoth Jiak on the men’s side and Julia Smith on the women’s side.

Smith finished with a time of 23:21, two seconds away from breaking the school record. Smith came into this week preparing to break the record, and even had extra motivation because she was running against her sister, Emily, from Ithaca.

Smith said she was a little disappointed to come up short.

“I blame it on the conditions,” she said. “Honestly, it was really muddy and rainy, and I feel like if it was not such a messy course, I would have beaten it.”

Although Smith was disappointed about not breaking the record, she said she took some positives away from the race.

“All my workouts have been really consistent, so I’m glad my results are showing it,” Smith said. “I feel like I just keep getting faster.”

The top runners for the women other than Smith were Kat McNamara (23:37), Tara Murphy (23:58) and Sharae Smith (24:09).

On the men’s side, Jiak finished with a time of 27:00. He wasn’t too happy with his result and he also blamed the weather and the conditions of the course. Although he personally didn’t do as well as he had hoped, he said that the team did well.

“The team finished really close today,” Jiak said. “All the guys were right next to me like 15 seconds apart from each other so it was pretty good.”

Some of the other top finishers from the men’s side were Kyle Foster (27:11), Felipe Yanez (27:24) and Austin Becker (27:28).

The team will look to continue to improve over the next few weeks as it competes in some of its most important meets of the year. Meanwhile, Smith has some goals of her own.

“I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and be smart so I can try and beat the record again,” Smith said.

Next up for the Bengals is the SUNYAC Championships on Nov. 2 in Oneonta, N.Y.