The 2011 season for the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) cross-country teams began Saturday, Sept. 10, in the SUNY Oswego Invitational.
The men's team made the road trip in a biodiesel-powered bus using fuel manufactured by ESF from used cooking oil. The used cooking oil is collected from student dining halls and other food establishments. Biodiesel is also being manufactured from the 900-pound butter sculpture that recently graced the New York State Fair.
ESF fresman Brian Busby finished 15th overall among the men, with freshman Timmy Callahan 23rd and freshman Ethan Washburn was 42nd among 148 runners. The team finished fifth of the 12 teams competing.
Among the women, the top three ESF finishers were junior Danielle Kaveny in 32nd, sophomore Danielle Zgardzinski in 33rd and junior Erica Grohol in 43rd. Overall, 113 women competed. As a team, the women finished six out of 12 teams competing.
The meet at Oswego was the first of seven for the men's team. The schedule includes races at Hobart, Cortland, Cazenovia, Hamilton and Cornell. The women's team will compete in eight races. In addition to the meets listed above, they will race at Roberts Wesleyan. Both teams will finish their seasons competing in the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association national championships in Lake Placid.
Last year, the ESF men's cross-country team finished fifth in the national championship while the ESF women's team finished second out of 18 teams from across the country.
Coach John View said he is cautiously optimistic about the season: "We have a wonderful blend of very talented first-year students as well as some talented returning students."
This is the third year for cross-country at ESF and the teams now number 22 men and 17 women.
For the uninitiated, the traditional cross-country race is 8 kilometers (about 5 miles) for men and 6 kilometers (about 3.75 miles) for women through field and forest in all kinds of weather conditions. The first five runners to cross the finish line for any given team are the scorers. The other runners are also important in how their team finishes in the meet because they can displace opposing runners by finishing ahead of them.
(Note - The ESF men's team was supposed to open their season at SUNY-Cobleskill but flooding forced the cancelation of that meet.)
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