Joe Jaster wins UAA Championship for cross country

Men’s team places third, women’s finishes fifth


Courtesy of CWRU Athletics

Fourth-year Joe Jaster has had a monumental impact on CWRU’s cross country team since his first year in 2019, when he was among the team’s top seven finishers on four occasions.

Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor

On Oct. 29, fourth-year Joe Jaster of the Case Western Reserve University men’s cross country team won the UAA Championship, becoming the second runner in program history to do so.

Jaster came in first out of 74 runners in the 8K race with a time of 24:44.5, which was 4.6 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. The first Spartan to win the championship was Aaron Johnston-Peck in 2004. With this accomplishment, Jaster earned All-UAA honors for the first time in his career. Additionally, Jaster was named the M-F Athletic National Athlete of the Week by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. He was also named the UAA Athlete of the Week and the Spartan Club Athlete of the Week.

Jaster’s performance led the 20th-ranked men’s team to an overall third place finish at the championship hosted by Emory University in Hampton, Georgia. This marked the fifth top-three finish at the conference championships in program history. CWRU recorded 80 points, finishing behind 10th-ranked Emory (48) and ninth-ranked Carnegie Mellon University (64).

Fourth-year Jack Begley also earned All-UAA honors, the second of his career, with an eighth place finish in 24:59.5. Fourth-year Robert St. Clair finished 21st (25:28.2) while second-year Aidan Nathan came in 22nd (25:29.0). To top off the scoring Spartans, fourth-year Logan Singer placed 28th (25:40.4).

Third-year Stephen Henry placed 30th (25:45.0), fourth-year Liam O’Reilly finished 38th (25:54.3), fourth-year Spencer Weigand came in 49th (26:28.6) and third-year Arjun Thillairajah placed 51st (26:32.5).

The women’s team came in fifth after finishing with 133 points. First-ranked University of Chicago won the meet with a score of 36. Seventh-ranked University of Washington in St. Louis came in second (46) while 23rd-ranked New York University came in third (78). Emory’s Annika Urban won with a time of 21:14.4.

First-years Ashley Novak and Lauren Iagnemma were CWRU’s top finishers, just missing the all-UAA honors in the 6K championship race. Novak completed the distance with a season-best time of 22:37.1 for 15th place out of 75 runners. Iagnemma came in 22:41.5 for 16th. The duo performed well in comparison to the rest of their class, being the third and fourth first-year runners to cross the finish.

Third-year Grace Jackson finished 29th (23:11.5) to come in third for the Spartans. Fourth-year Julia Kocherzat ran a season-best of 23:18.0 for 33rd. Fourth-year Catherine Phillips rounded out the top-five CWRU finishers with a 54th place finish (24:00.1).

Fourth-year Melissa Phung finished 57th (24:06.9), first-year Julia Hluck came in 60th (24:11.9), third-year Jessica Kwasney placed 64th (24:29.1) while first-year Anna Avila came in 70th (25:04.4).

18 members of the men’s team and 15 of the women’s received UAA Fall All-Academic Honors, awarded to student-athletes who carry a minimum GPA of 3.300. 89 CWRU athletes received this honor, including 19 from the women’s soccer team, 18 from the men’s soccer team and 19 from the volleyball team.

The Spartans will complete their regular season on Friday, Nov. 4 at the Wooster Twilight 5K race hosted by the College of Wooster. Qualifying runners will compete in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship in Holland, Michigan on Nov. 12. Top performers will go on to the NCAA Division III Championship in Lansing, Michigan on Nov. 19.