This past Friday marked one of the best athletic performances in the Geneseo men's cross-country team's history.
While cross-country, in general, does not command the same following from the general public as other collegiate sports, the men's cross-country team deserves respect and recognition for their achievements at their past meet.
On an overall impressive weekend for the whole team, the men's A team turned in an incredible performance even in the eyes of seasoned coach, Mike Woods. Woods, however, was far from surprised by his team's performance.
"We are who we thought we were," Woods said. He said he believed that if the team trained hard during the summer, that they could be a team to be reckoned with this year.
The men took on several Division I programs and more than held their own in the race at Penn State University. The Blue Knights sported the meet's fastest time as sophomore Lee Berube was the first runner across the finish line. Geneseo finished second ahead of Penn State and Buffalo State; the only team they trailed was the University of Michigan. The race was a team effort, as all seven scoring runners broke the finish line within 43 seconds of each other.
Woods said he was frustrated that many of the team's efforts have largely gone unrecognized, and pointed out that the runners are only getting better. The team has improved their times from last year by an average of over a minute.
Woods said he strongly believes that this team is good enough to win big. "Does it mean we'll win the national championship?" Woods said, in reference to last weekend's success. "No, but we'll definitely contend."
Sophomore Chris Mateer, who was ninth overall in 26 minutes, 42 seconds, echoes his coach's sentiment of improving the team to the national stage. "This weekend was an amazing race for the team," he said. "It was a great showing of the talent and depth we have this year. Right now we're just looking at trying to develop ourselves into a national contender."
The rest of the cross-country team turned in an excellent performance, as well. The women's A team lost to some Division I programs at the meet, but finished fourth overall without three of their best runners. Sophomore Alyssa Smith was the top harrier for Geneseo, placing 15th in 22:37 while freshman Marissa Liberati placed 19th in 22:45. Graduate student Maggie Morris was 21st in 22:50.
At the Brockport Invitational on Saturday, the women's B team finished second out of five teams. Senior Liz Montgomery paced Geneseo with a fourth-place finish in 19:19. Senior Erin Marks finished seventh in 19:40 and senior Megan Steenburgh placed ninth in 20:06.
The men's B team, led by the first-place finisher, senior Will Haskell, was the best team at the meet, beating out second-place Brockport. Geneseo also grabbed fourth through seventh overall to earn the win.
Next up for Geneseo: the A teams will go to Western Ontario University for the Canadian Cross-Country Championships on Sept. 26, while the B teams will travel to Roberts Wesleyan University. With such a strong roster, the team is sure to make more headlines throughout the season.