Though neither the men’s nor women’s cross-country team placed first in the University of Rochester’s YellowJacket Invitational on Sept. 15, the Knights still ran successfully.
“At the end of the meet, I said to both teams, ‘Mission accomplished’,” cross-country head coach Mike Woods said. “They did just what we wanted to do. I was very, very happy with how they stuck to the plan.”
The Knights’ plan was to run at a tempo or a controlled pace for the first half of the race for the men’s and the first two-thirds for the women’s, then race the final two miles all out. At one point, the men’s team was as far back as 16th place of 24 teams.
“We’re not worrying about how we’re racing now,” Woods said. “The first race that we’re going to be focusing on is when we go to Oberlin [College] in Ohio on Oct. 13.” At that meet, the Knights will face bigger schools from the Midwest.
“We’ve got to be ready to step in there and see how we do,” Woods said.
In Rochester, the men’s team finished second behind Division I Cornell University’s perfect 15 points. Senior Alex Brimstein led the Geneseo pack with a 16th place finish and completed the eight-kilometer course in 25 minutes, 50 seconds.
Brimstein, who transferred from Monroe Community College, is in his second year of eligibility for cross-country, and while he wasn’t prepared for the fall season last year, Brimstein has participated in track and field each year while at Geneseo.
“He’s putting in the mileage that he needs to put in to be a good cross-country runner,” Woods said. “He’s been putting in 110 miles per week – that’s a great mileage for a senior guy cross-country runner. I have all the confidence in the world in him that he’ll be an All-American this year.”
The women placed fifth, also behind Cornell, with sophomore Cassie Goodman leading the way for the Knights with a 42nd place time of 23:05.
“[Goodman] has done an amazing job. [Goodman] works so hard,” Woods said. “If anybody lives to run, it’s [Goodman]. She loves to run.”
“She’s a real student of the sport and she wants to be the best she can be,” he said. “She wants to be an All-American, and she has put herself in a position to be one.”
The following six for Geneseo ran closely in a pack, including senior Brigid Heenan in 55th place at 23:25, while junior Mary Aldridge, senior Danae Polsin and senior Cailin Kowalewski completed the course in 56th, 57th and 59th, respectively, in 23:27.
The Knights do not have a meet this weekend, but host their annual – and only – invitational at 11 a.m. Saturday Sept. 29.
Usually, numerous colleges join Geneseo for their meet at Letchworth State Park; however, this year, there were be fewer visiting schools due to conflicting tournaments including the Paul Short Run at Lehigh University. Regardless of the competition, Woods said, “We’ll train through this meet. We’ll run to try and win, which we usually we do, but we’re going to take it easy.”