XC prepares for national meet

The Geneseo men’s and women’s cross country teams had successful outings on Saturday Nov. 15—both teams finished second at the NCAA Division III Atlantic Regionals at the University of Rochester at Genesee Valley Park. Both teams secured their spots at the national races coming up on Saturday Nov. 22 at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio. Led by senior Cohen Miles-Rath, the men’s team came into the race with high expectations. Runners like freshmen Alexander Burks and Isaac Garcia-Cassani continued their excellent campaigns by rounding out the top five runners for the Knights on the men’s side.

On the women’s side, runners such as freshman Kristen Homeyer—who recently won the SUNYAC Rookie of the Year award along with Garcia-Cassani—and sophomore Marissa Bellusci helped to give the Knights their second place finish.

Such consistent races from younger runners have been a staple of the Knights’ season. “That’s a big pressure race for [our younger runners] to step up and they certainly did it,” head coach Mike Woods said.

The Knights were able to preserve their streak of 16 straight NCAA appearances for the women and 12 consecutive appearances for the men’s team.

“We now hold the longest active streak in the country of having both the men and the women qualify for the NCAAs,” Woods said. “No one else around here is doing anything like that.” With such consistency throughout the years, it’s not hard to imagine that the Knights have some big expectations for themselves.

The Knights are in excellent position to make an impact at the NCAA Tournament. Because the teams both had top two finishes, they automatically qualified for the finals, taking just a bit of stress off of their shoulders.

When they arrive in Mason, Ohio for the NCAAs, they will just have to treat it like any other race. That’s the way that they have been treating every race this season and it is the same situation going forward.

Of course, winning the championship is the ultimate goal, but the individual runners have had some excellent seasons that would qualify as having met expectations. Having two runners sweep the Rookie of the Year awards in addition to six runners from the men’s team and eight from the women’s team named to the All-SUNYAC team is a remarkable feat.