With a long history of dominance, both the men's and women's cross-country teams headed to the national championships at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., on Saturday Nov. 17. This was the men's fifth and the women's ninth straight appearance at the NCAA Division III championships.
The women's team came into the race ranked fourth in the nation and ended up finishing fifth out of 32 teams with 249 points. They finished behind champion Amherst as well as Plattsburgh, Washington University and Calvin College. The team was lead by junior Liz Montgomery, who finished second overall in the nation with a time of 21:17. She was second only to defending champion Sarah Zerzan of Willamette.
"I am very proud of Liz," said coach Mike Woods, "She ran a great race."
Montgomery holds the best finish ever by a Geneseo runner at nationals. She beat out the previous record that she had tied last year with this impressive performance. Both Montgomery and senior Meghan Nolan earned All-American recognition.
Nolan finished in 14th place with a time of 21:46. Next followed junior Laura Iafrati finishing 75th with a time of 22:46, followed by sophomore Sandra Goettelman in 108th with a time of 23:01, and senior Emily Hurley rounded out the scoring five, posting a time of 23:21 and finishing in 159th place overall.
The Geneseo men finished a respectable 22nd out of the 32 teams at nationals, with a scoring total of 471 points. Senior Ryan Mulcahy was the top Geneseo finisher, coming in 52nd place with a time of 25:27, followed by junior Nate Lockett who finished 70th in 25:39. Freshmen Ryan O'Connor and Tom Reubens finished 149th and 176th place, respectively, with times of 26:04 and 26:13. Junior Will Haskell finished out the scoring five with his 183rd place finish, in a time of 26:16.
The season was bittersweet, according to Woods, who coaches both the men's and women's team.
"This season was very satisfying," he said. "The regular season was everything you could ask for. Until the NCAAs it was fabulous." However, Woods admitted to a slight disappointment with the teams' finishes at the NCAAs but still remained proud of both teams for their outstanding achievement.
Next year, both teams look to return to the NCAAs and potentially capture a national championship, even with the departure of some very important contributors with this year's graduating class.
"We are losing some very valuable seniors who made a great contribution, we are looking to rebuild," said Woods. "NCAAs is always the goal of the program."
The Knights hope to continue on their winning ways with another strong season after the impressive one that they put forward this year.