Cross-country prepares for SUNYACs with races at St. Lawrence, University of Rochester

The men's and women's cross-country teams traveled to the University of Rochester on Oct. 15 to compete in the Yellow Jacket Invitational, both finishing in fourth place.

Head coach Mike Woods rested his top 10 men and a majority of his top women, with the exception of senior Alyssa Smith, in preparation for the SUNYAC Championships on Oct. 29.

"Alyssa Smith, our No. 1 girl, wanted to race," Woods said. "I don't normally like them going three times in a row but she wanted another race under her belt and she did very well."

Smith led the women, finishing in fourth overall in a time of 18 minutes, 51 seconds. As for the men, it was largely a race for those competing to run at SUNYACs.

"I was extremely pleased [with those who did run], especially on the guys' side," Woods said. "The guys were battling for some SUNYAC spots so it was a spirited competition on our own team."  

Freshman Tim Mateer especially stood out, finishing 18th overall and leading the team with a time of 27:10.

"[Mateer] beat a lot of fifth guys, scoring guys, on other teams," Woods said. "Rochester won and he was right behind their fifth guy … it's impressive. It shows the depth we have on our team. He had a real nice race."

A week earlier, on Oct. 8, the Knights competed at the Hoffman Pre-Regional Invitational at St. Lawrence University, a race that Woods had described as being a "tell-tale meet" for both squads.

The women passed with flying colors, winning the team title by 19 points over host St. Lawrence.

"They showed without a doubt that we're the team to beat in the Atlantic Region," Woods said.   

Smith again led the way, finishing third overall in a time of 22:16 with junior Danae Polsin and freshman Cassie Goodman finishing sixth and eighth, respectively. Even more impressive was the fact that the women put their top nine runners ahead of St. Lawrence's top five. The Knights also had their top nine finishers ahead of fourth place SUNY Plattsburgh's top four.  

"I was real happy with how they competed … We had a pack of four within three-and-a-half seconds of each other and if we can get them to move up I don't think anyone will beat us [in the region]," Woods said.

 The men, however, did not fare as well.

Despite a record-setting, first-place performance by senior Lee Berube and another strong outing by senior Eddie Novara, who finished third overall, the men finished third behind Bates College (Maine) and St. Lawrence.

Berube continued his torrid senior season by breaking a seven-year St. Lawrence course record once held by Geneseo alumnus Ted Turner ('05).

"That was really something," said Woods. "Every time [Berube] goes out there and does something it's usually in superlatives; he's doing something great."

Berube's time of 24:39 bested Turner's mark by almost 13 seconds.

"He was all by himself," Woods said. "When I asked him after the race, ‘Did you use all the gears? Or did you have something left?' he said he had another gear to go to, if somebody came up on him – but nobody was there."

"I think we learned a lot about ourselves. After one and two we ran very flat," Woods said. "I'm not concerned at all but I hope this was a wake-up call to them, that they've got to put their best foot forward or we may stay home."

Senior Mark Streb certainly did not have his best race, finishing 29th in 26:42 while junior Tom Clark, who was still coming off an injury, finished 19th in 26:29. Both men will need to run much better if the Knights are to have a shot at a regional title.

"I know they'll run much better," coach Woods said.

"I still say we're the best team in the region without a doubt. We had a terrible race and only ended up losing to St. Lawrence by one point. That being said [Bates and St. Lawrence] ran very well and we did not."

The Knights will take a week off before competing at the SUNYAC Championships on Oct. 29.