Division I competition no problem for Geneseo cross-country

The Geneseo men’s and women’s cross-country teams traveled on Saturday Sept. 13 to run in the Harry Groves Spiked Shoes Invitational, hosted by Penn. State (yes, Division I Penn. State). This was a race that had runners from all three divisions competing against each other. One would think this would be intimidating to the Geneseo athletes but the results say otherwise. “It was kind of cool!” captain junior Cassie Goodman said of facing higher divisions. Goodman ran a time of 22 minutes and 10 seconds, good for 18th place overall and first for Geneseo. All but one runner finished under the 23 minute mark, and the runner that didn’t missed it by two seconds.

The Knights came in second amongst the Division III schools, losing to Johns Hopkins, the Division III national champions, and sixth overall (nine teams ran). Not stellar results but seeing that they beat two Division I programs (West Virginia, Mt. Saint Mary’s) and SUNYAC rival SUNY Cortland, which Goodman described as “insane,” the Knights had a good day.

“We held our own,” Goodman said. “It’s always cool to be up against the big schools.”

Another highlight of the race came from runners two through seven: they all finished within nine spots of one another. Most notably junior Alyssa Knott, whom head coach Mike Woods describes as “the energizer bunny” of the team, finished with a time of 22:45, good for 31st overall.

For the men, there was “good news and bad news,” Woods said. The bad being that a few of his runners were dealing with “respiratory infections” all week and weren’t able to perform as well as they hoped. The good news came from sophomore Brenden Wortner who came in 11th, officially.

Wortner had an “up and down” season last year but was able to surprise Woods, in a good way, at this race.

“That was a career race for [Wortner],” Woods said. “That was the best cross-country race he has had as a Geneseo athlete.”

The “bad news” wasn’t even all that bad. The top seven finished within a minute of one another and all had a pace below 5:20.

The Knights came in seventh overall (eight teams in the field) and third among the Division III competition.

“When I’m studying the results, it wasn’t as bad as I thought,” Woods said. “We were fairly close time wise to the guys ahead of us.”

Neither the men’s and women’s team won the race. But there were a lot of good things to gain from the day. Being a Division III school pinned against Division I and II schools should have been daunting but Goodman said, simply, “it was cool.”u