Despite the conference championship approaching, the men’s and women’s cross-country teams have their eyes on the NCAA Division III championship.
“Our team is looking so strong right [now] that SUNYACs [are] almost like an afterthought,” senior runner Thomas Clark said.
“We do have a really strong team, and I think we want to go to SUNYACs and do well there and hopefully bring home two titles, but I think also because we’re so strong this year our bigger goal is nationals and seeing what we can do there,” sophomore Cassie Goodman said.
According to Clark and classmate senior Alex Brimstein, the men’s team is looking to win the national title, while the women’s side hopes to earn a spot on the podium, which is first through 10th.
The Knights already saw a glimpse of Division III national competition at Oberlin College in Ohio on Saturday Oct. 13. This meet is different for the Geneseo runners, as they don’t typically attend big Division III meets midseason, according to Clark.
Head coach Mike Woods said this meet helps the Knights judge their abilities against top competition.
Against other nationally ranked teams, including Carnegie Mellon University (No. 16 men’s, No. 30 women’s), New York University (No. 17 men’s, No. 25 women’s) and Allegheny College (No. 20 men’s), Geneseo’s men’s team finished in first, while the women’s took second.
Brimstein and Clark led the men’s side placing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Senior Chris Mateer, sophomore Ryan Moynihan and senior Chris Moore rounded out the scoring five taking 12th, 15th and 19th place.
In the women’s race, Goodman ran to a ninth-place finish in 21 minutes, 45 seconds.
The other four scoring runners completed the course within roughly 20 seconds of senior Emily Sullivan in 16th place and senior Esther Lok in 29th place.
“[Packing] has been the emphasis of the season,” Goodman said. “We have a really tight pack, and everyone’s running fast, and that’s key.”
In order to prepare to face the best Division III competition in the nation, the Knights are also focusing on training through the conference meet.
The teams are reducing their mileage, time in the weight room and general volume of training, according to Woods. Now is not the time to peak for the runners, since the NCAA meet is three weeks after SUNYACs.
The Knights look to take the first step toward a national title at the SUNYAC championship on Oct. 27 at SUNY Fredonia.