With dominating performances at the Mike Woods Invitational on Saturday Oct. 3, the Geneseo men’s and women’s cross country teams put themselves in excellent positions going into the home stretch of their seasons. Both teams had first place finishes at the 35th annual invite held at Letchworth State Park.
Going into the race, the men were ranked eighth in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national poll as of Sept. 30 and the women were ranked sixth. The result from the invitational is only going to help the Knights climb the ladder. Both teams were able to beat stiff competition including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, St. Lawrence University and SUNYAC rival SUNY Brockport.
For the women, they were the first team to five finishers on Saturday Oct. 3, with their five runners all coming in the top 17. The men had their top five runners all come in the top 15 for their race. These finishes for both teams kept up a tradition for the Knights: the men have won the last eight Mike Woods Invitationals and 18 overall, while the women won their 11th straight invitational and 22nd overall. In the women’s race, Geneseo graduate Cassie Goodman ‘15 came in third place overall, giving another strong performance to follow up her senior year dominance from last season.
The Knights now get a week off before heading back to work on Oct. 17 at the Rowan Inter-Regional Invitational in New Jersey. This late in the season, a weekend off is going to do wonders for all the runners. They’ll get time to rest and recover from whatever aches and pains that they’ve acquired throughout the season, as well as getting time to take a mental break from their grueling schedule. Giving the athletes time to relax can help increase stability later on in the season. It could provide the Knights with that little extra push that they need to get through to the end goal.
To get to a point where both the men’s and women’s teams are in serious contention to end up on the podium at the end of the season takes a lot of hard work—which the runners have clearly put in all season long. Head coach Dan Moore ‘06 put a new system of training in place this season, merging the teachings of longtime coach Mike Woods and his own system.
Focusing more on the science of the sport, the new coaching method pays a lot of attention to strategies and the analytics of the upcoming race. This learning experience has led to an extremely disciplined team that seems to genuinely believe that they can win any race that they head into.
If the teams continue on the pace that they’ve been on for the whole season, no team in the country is going to be able to stop them. The combination of pure talent and the analytics of their coaching staff have led to the Knights becoming a national power and a force to be reckoned with in the Northeast Region.