While most student-athletes see a name change on the front of their jerseys as they transition from high school to college, sophomore cross-country runner Ryan Moynihan had no such experience.
Moynihan is a Geneseo native and has competed for cross-country and track teams since high school.
“A lot of the guys here don’t really understand that a lot of the community is watching,” Moynihan said on the population he grew up with. “Even the professors and some people from the community … They know me from high school, but they also follow the college team really well,” Moynihan said.
Cross-country head coach Mike Woods reiterated this sentiment: “Every time I go into the coffee shop, I’ve got guys asking me ‘Where you going next?’”
Though Moynihan gained a following within his community as a cross-country runner, he started out as a soccer player. It wasn’t until after a track race in his sophomore year at Geneseo High School that Moynihan decided to switch from soccer to cross-country.
“My sophomore year [in high school] I ran a really good [800-meter race], and my track coach talked me into running cross-country the next year because he thought I could go far with running,” Moynihan said.
Moynihan succeeded right away. His first season in his junior year brought him all the way to the state meet where he placed fourth as an individual among the Class D competition.
Similarly, when Moynihan entered college, he instantly left an impression. Moynihan was the eighth man on the team and acted as the alternate for the competing nationals team during his freshman season.
By summer 2012, Moynihan said he knew he had to change his training up if he wanted to reach the next level.
“Coming into [sophomore] year … I started running a lot more,” he said. “That consistency of high mileage and having a year of experience under my belt … helped me run a lot faster this year.”
Woods also said that this change was key to Moynihan’s current breakout season.
“I watched [Moynihan] this summer transform himself from a good runner to a great runner,” Woods said. “I would drive all over this town, and I swear every time I would drive some place, I would see him out there.”
Moynihan’s hard work has paid off. His performances at Inter-Regional Rumble at Oberlin College, where he ran 24 minutes, 41 seconds over the eight-kilometer course, and at SUNYACs, where he placed fifth overall, highlighted his 2012 season.
With the NCAA Atlantic Regional and NCAA Championships meets on the horizon, Moynihan says he has grand ambitions for both himself and his team.
“I want to be an All-American, and my driving force behind being an All-American would be to have such a low point total that it helps impact the team scoring … and hopefully win it all,” he said.
“The sky’s the limit for him,” Woods said. “I think he can become an elite runner.”