Knights compete at nationals: Berube finishes second overall

The men's and women's cross-country teams traveled to Winneconne, Wis. on Nov. 19 to compete in the NCAA Division III Championships for their final race of the season.

The men finished in a program-best fourth place with 235 points while the women finished 12th for the second year in a row with 380 points. Senior Lee Berube was the national runner-up finishing in a time of 23 minutes, 49 seconds.

"There have only been five guys in the history of Division III cross-country that have broken 24 and [Berube] is one of them," head coach Mike Woods said. "That shows you what kind of an effort he put out there. It was a typical Lee Berube race – very smart."

"I really thought that this year was an excellent way to end my cross-country career," Berube said. "The team was just so cohesive this year. Everyone just ran really smoothly and we all got along really well … it was just a perfect season, the way I thought it would turn out to be. "

Senior Ben Sathre from the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) won the individual title in a time of 23:44, just five seconds ahead of Berube. The two battled the entire race, exchanging leads even down to the final meter.  

"My last thoughts were just I'm probably not going to catch [Sathre], but I'll just keep on making my body move as fast as I can. There were just so many thoughts going through my head in the last couple meters," Berube said. "You just can't go any faster after a point, your body just won't let you. That's what happened with me. That is my fastest time ever so I'm very, very pleased with that."

Berube finishes his Geneseo cross-country career with an impressive résumé: two All-American selections, three Geneseo Invitational victories, three SUNYAC individual titles, two NCAA Regional individual titles and two NCAA top-10 finishes. After his performance at nationals, little doubt is left that Berube will graduate as the best runner in Geneseo history.

"It does feel good to be at the top of the list and have some records at Geneseo, but for me it's all about competing," Berube said. "My times say that maybe I am the fastest ever in Geneseo history but … if you look to this freshmen class there are some guys in there that have better [personal records] than I did coming into Geneseo and I think they can get my times in a couple of years, so it will be cool to look out for. I'll be watching it."

Senior Eddie Novara earned his second consecutive All-American selection finishing 25th in 24:38. Senior Mark Streb, who struggled at regionals, was phenomenal, logging a person record 24:47, coming in 36th, just one spot shy of being an All-American. Junior Tom Clark and senior Chris Carter rounded out the scoring finishing 60th and 187th, respectively.

"Well obviously I'm very pleased. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to get on the podium and bring home a trophy and that's exactly what we did," said Woods. "The fact that we got on the podium has to be the highlight of the trip and seeing Lee [Berube] run such a smart race was very much a highlight."

Coach Woods also praised Streb who got off to a slower start at the national meet, but came through to run a clutch race for his team.

"[Streb] ran a great race that was without questions his best cross-country race since he's been here so that's a highlight," said Woods. "He probably passed 150 guys to get to where he was, so he ran a hell of a race, a smart race. I tip my hat to him."

The women ended their season on somewhat of a disappointing note finishing behind conference rival SUNY Plattsburgh and St. Lawrence University, teams that they had beaten earlier in the year.

"What can you say? They were very consistent up until really the last two races," said Woods. "I didn't think they ran well at regionals, as well as they could have, and they definitely didn't run as well as they could have at NCAAs."  

Senior Alyssa Smith led the team finishing in 65th in a time of 22:04, followed by junior Danae Polsin who finished 84th. Senior Ashley Jones and first year Cassie Goodman also ran great races coming in 101st and 108th, respectively. Junior Brigid Heenan completed the scoring for the Knights coming in 189th.

The women will continue to be competitive next season, returning a lot of talent including junior Marissa Liberati who lost this season due to injury. As for the men, next season will fall on the development of some key underclassmen, including incoming recruits in light of the losses of Berube, Novara and Streb.

"Everybody thinks we're going to suck next year because we're losing one, two and three, but that's not the case. Everyone has developed," said Woods. "We're going to be a different type of team."