On Oct. 30, the University of Rochester (N.Y.) hosted the 34th Annual University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships for both the men’s and women’s cross country teams. Emory had a successful day on the course at Genesee Valley Park, with both teams finishing in fourth place.

Coming into the meet, the men’s team was ranked No. 9 in Division III. 

The top performers of the meet on the men’s side for their 8K race were seniors Brett Lucas, Spencer Moore and John Cox, with times of 26:02.4, 26:08.2 and 26:22.8, respectively. Lucas finished in first for the Eagles and earned ninth place overall, with Moore coming in at 11th place overall. Cox also made a mark for the Eagles, finishing in 18th place overall. Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) finished in first overall, earning its first conference championship.

Even without a championship, Cox was still pleased with the team’s performance against such dominant teams. 

“We knew there was going to be really good competition going into the meet, and we knew it was going to be tough,” Cox said. “The conditions at the meet were pretty bad. They had record-setting rain a few days prior to the meet. We went into the meet with confidence and the way that we wanted to race was assertive.”

Given the rough conditions on the course, Cox was satisfied with his individual performance.

“I am pretty happy with my performance,” Cox said. “The conditions were far from ideal, but I was able to put myself out there and really compete to the best of my ability. I was really able to push through and give my best effort.”

On the women’s side, the team came into the meet ranked 19th in Division III. Junior Annika Urban impressed in the 6K, finishing in first for the Eagles and second place overall with a time of 22:35.0. This was the fastest time by a woman runner for Emory at the UAA Championships in four years, and she consequently was awarded with an All-UAA First Team honor. Even with less than ideal racing conditions, Urban persisted in the meet. 

“I felt pretty strong in my race,” Urban said. “It was tough conditions, and the course in particular was very flooded. But I am very happy with how it turned out.”

For freshman Liesl Scherrer — who came in second place for the Eagles at 18th overall with a time of 23:51.3 — this was her first UAA Championships. While she said she is still learning the ropes, Scherrer is excited for future seasons.  

“Coming into freshman year, I did not know what to expect out of college racing,” Scherrer said. “But over the past season I have gotten a lot of good experience and I will definitely be ready going into the indoor track season.”

On Nov. 13, both of the Eagles cross country teams will participate in the South/Southeast Region Championships at Milliken Park in Converse, South Carolina, their second time running at this location for the 2021 season.

With nationals on the horizon, Urban plans to keep “eyes up” and “look forward” these upcoming weeks. 

“We are looking forward to the next chance we get to show off again,” Urban said. “Just staying focused and tough for the remainder of the season is most important. Our team has a really good chance at performing well at nationals.”