Still recovering from a taxing trip to Penn State University, both the men and women's cross-country teams traveled to SUNY Oneonta for the Atlantic Pre-Regional race on Friday.
Interestingly enough, both squads finished in second place behind St. Lawrence University, the men with 60 points and the women with 68 points - both finished 18 points off the lead. Despite placing in the same position, the two teams couldn't be more different. For the men, Friday's race provided a chance to take a "break" and for the women's team it was a chance to prove itself.
The women, led by sophomore Marissa Liberati who finished second overall in a time of 21 minutes, 48 seconds, did just that.
"Marissa Liberati is running like an All-American, which I know she can be," said head coach Mike Woods.
After having a tough time at Penn State, the women began to show signs of life at the Oneonta meet. Junior Alyssa Smith and freshman Mary Aldridge finished 12th and 13th respectively, garnering the praise of their coach. "[Smith and Aldridge] admitted that they were flat [at Penn State] but they weren't flat Friday night, they really stepped up and ran hard," Woods said. "We need those two like flowers need the sun. We've got to have them."
On the other side of the spectrum, the men used Friday's race to recover and pace themselves for future competition. "We decided together not to run this meet all out because we were still hurting from Penn State," Woods said.
The plan was for the men to run the first three miles at a "tempo" pace and then run the last two miles at full speed. The results were astounding.
At the halfway mark, the men were well behind the lead, marking in at 13th place. Thanks to a blazing kick paced by juniors Lee Berube and Eddie Novara, however, the Knights made up 11 spots during last two miles. Berube finished in 25 minutes, 10 seconds and Novara finished in 25:20.
Even more impressive was the fact that Geneseo ran without senior All-American Ryan O'Connor who was sidelined with a minor calf injury.
The Knights have the week off to prepare for the Geneseo Invitational at Letchworth State Park on Saturday Oct. 2.