The Geneseo cross-country team held its 29th Annual Geneseo Invitational Letchworth State Park last Saturday. Both the men's and women's teams came in first place, as each team had plenty of runners with solid performances.
It was the fifth year in a row that the women's team won the 6K race, placing first out of the 23 teams present for the competition. The Knights were led by freshman Marissa Liberati who finished third overall with a time of 22 minutes, 39 seconds, followed by senior Sandra Goettelman who came in fifth in 22:48 and freshman Brigid Heenan who finished eighth with a time of 23:03. Sophomore Alyssa Smith and graduate students Maggie Morris and Liz Montgomery also had commendable times, finishing in 12th, 13th and 14th places, respectively.
Head coach Mike Woods said he was glad the team did well and was also impressed at the two top-10 finishes from freshmen. He spoke highly of both Liberati and Heenan, calling their performances "amazing."
Woods said he has high expectations for the team and added that "we still have some people are not running where they should be," and that everyone needs to be the best they can be in order for the team to be as successful as it can.
Heenan said she believed she did pretty well in her race, considering it was only her second time running a 6K. "The whole team did really well," she added.
Junior Megan Reynolds said she believed that previously running and learning the course throughout the season contributed to the team's success.
The Letchworth meet also saw the addition of a talented alumni team that returned to participate in the race. The team came in third place and featured the first place finisher for the women's race, senior Danielle Hunt, who ran with the alumni since she is not affiliated with the current Geneseo team.
Both Heenan and Reynolds said that they believed the extra motivation to prove themselves to the alumni team also added to the team's success.
In the men's 8K race, Geneseo again took first place. The Knights had six of the top nine finishers, including winner sophomore Lee Berube with a time of 25:12.
Berube was closely followed by senior Tim Chichester, who came in second with a time of 25:23. Lee's brother, senior Jesse Berube came in fifth in 25:39 and junior Ryan O'Connor finished in seventh place with a time of 25:50.
Senior Will Haskell and sophomore Chris Mateer, who finished eighth and ninth, respectively, rounded out the scoring runners for the Knights.
"The team did really good," senior Lee Gabler said. "We have a very deep team and I'm proud of them."
"It feels great," Lee Berube said. "My brother ran a good race; everyone ran really good all around."
After being neck and neck with Chichester with less than a mile left, Lee Berube said, "I thought Tim was going to win. I got a second wind the last mile - Tim really pulled me through."
Lee Berube also added that a team first-place finish is "something we want to do every race we go into." At nationals, he said he hopes to "be a podium team."
"To take one and two is great; those two guys are great runners," said Woods. "They ran good times even though it was a slow course."
Woods said he believed that the heavy rain the course endured the entire week before the race slowed down the times considerably, adding that with a dry course the race may have been 30 seconds faster.
Woods also said he was not surprised that both teams came in first place. He said they are "two really good teams," and added that "I worked them really hard last week. As I expected, they ran hard and they were tough."
Both the men's and women's teams have their next meet away in Rochester next weekend on Oct. 17. This is the last meet before the SUNYAC championships. Geneseo will be hosting the NCAA Atlantic Regional at Letchworth State Park on Nov. 14.