The men’s and women’s cross-country teams are both nationally ranked, and it is no accident. On Saturday Oct. 5 the Knights hosted the 33rd annual Geneseo cross-country invitational at Letchworth State Park. The course at this race is one both teams know very well, as they practice it often, which shows in the results: Both the men and women took first place for Geneseo.
The men’s team beat second place University of Rochester, the Knights’ biggest worry going into the day according to head coach Mike Woods, by a colossal 78 points.
Co-captains juniors Cohen Miles-Rath and Ryan Moynihan claimed the first two overall spots, respectively. Miles-Rath ran a time of 25 minutes and 15 seconds, 18 seconds faster than second place Moynihan.
Miles-Rath went into the race confident the Knights would do well. What he didn’t expect was to finish the way he did. At about the two-mile mark, Miles-Rath began to pull away from the pack and after that, no one came close to beating him.
“That was something I didn’t expect at all,” he said. “I just felt amazing … It just kind of clicked for me.”
Other notable runners in the race were sophomore Brendan Wortner and junior Chaz Abad. There were only two spots between Moynihan and Wortner, who finished fifth. Abad was right behind, finishing sixth.
As of Tuesday Oct. 8, the men’s team ranked second in the Atlantic Region and 15th nationally.
The women’s team, now ranked first in the Atlantic Region and 10th nationally fared just as well as the men. Co-captain junior Cassie Goodman came in fifth overall completing the women’s 5-kilometer course in 22:22.
Cross-country truly is a team sport and, thankfully for Geneseo, the other four runners are working as a team. Sophomore Jacquie Huben, freshman Marissa Bellusci, senior Mary Aldridge and sophomore Emma Deshaies created a pack and crossed the finish line within 14 seconds of one another. The total time difference for all five runners was 23 seconds.
Earlier in the year, Woods had said that his goal is to get the pack under 45 seconds, so he said he was very excited to get the team to 23 seconds.
“That was our best pack ever,” he said. “And it gets me thinking we can go down even further.”
The season is at a point where mental fortitude becomes the most vital characteristic to have as a runner, according to Woods.
“The further you get into the season, the more it’s up here,” he said, tapping his head. Miles-Rath was also in agreement, stating, “We’re all physical fit; we’re all putting in the mileage; we’re all putting in the work outs,” Miles-Rath said. The toughest part, he said, is “bridging the gap” between the physical fitness and mental fortitude.
The teams do not race again until Oct. 19, when they will head to Oberlin College. On the women’s side, Oberlin is ranked one notch below the Knights at 11th nationally, but both teams will be working hard to improve upon the progress they’ve already made.