This past Saturday, both the men and women's cross-country teams competed at the Rochester Invitational in Genesee Valley Park, finishing fifth and third respectively.
As he has done in past races, head coach Mike Woods decided to rest his top 10 male runners in hopes of having them in top shape for the SUNYAC tournament, which is now a mere two weeks away.
"We have a couple key guys that are dinged up right now and we need to get them back healthy. That's what this two-week period is all about," Woods said. The lack of real race time doesn't mean the team is taking it easy, however. The top guys still took the trip to Rochester and used it as an opportunity to train even harder.
"They came up and did a workout that was probably as tough, if not tougher, than the race they would have run," said Woods. "They came through that well."
Unlike the men, the women did run at full strength this past weekend. Although they finished third, placing ahead of rival SUNY Plattsburgh, they failed to maintain a tight pack. Sophomore Marissa Liberati and junior Alyssa Smith paced the Knights finishing seventh and 12th, respectively.
"The women had an off day at Rochester but it was their first [of the season]," Woods said. "I'd rather them have an off day at Rochester than have an off day at the SUNYACs or the regionals. I wasn't upset or disappointed or anything like that. You can't run perfect every time."
Moving forward, both squads will focus will be on getting healthy in preparation the latter portion of the athletic schedule.
"Our biggest thing is staying healthy and getting sleep," Woods said. "We train just as hard as everyone else; our biggest thing is sleep and nutrition. If we can go in there healthy, we can win."
The Knights have off next week but then travel to SUNY Oneonta on Oct. 30 for the SUNYAC Championship. From there, the stakes only get higher as the Knights must prepare for the NCAA Atlantic Regional on Nov. 13 and the NCAA Championship on Nov. 20.
"I told them [on Monday] that this is our second season now," Woods said. "We finished our first season and things went well but we've got to step it up in our second season because our next three races are the most important races of the year."