The Geneseo men’s and women’s cross country teams have had a relatively easy road to the NCAA Atlantic Regionals. Both teams were able to win the SUNYAC Championships, with each team having multiple athletes selected to the first and second All-Conference teams. Even though winning SUNYAC Championship is quite the accomplishment, the teams are keeping their eyes on the prize—winning Regionals and hopefully ending up on the podium when Nationals is over.
“Winning the SUNYAC title for the men and women is something the program always tries to accomplish,” head coach Dan Moore said. “It’s very satisfying coming away with the wins, but these are just stepping stones to get to the NCAA Championship and we want to come back with some hardware.”
While Moore has said that he is going into Regionals—which is Saturday Nov. 14, exactly a week before the NCAA Championship—focused just on Regionals, it’s a tough ask for his athletes.
“Of course they’re thinking about Nationals but I keep telling them that right now, our focus needs to be on Regionals,” Moore said. “They all know that and I trust them to keep sharp.”
Being focused is going to be relatively easy for the Knights, considering that they don’t have to travel at all for the Atlantic Regionals. The Knights will be hosting the event at Letchworth State Park. Being able to sleep in their own beds, eat at places they’re familiar with and simply not having to travel are all going to help the Knights. “Obviously it’s nice to have an event like this at home,” Moore said. “Everyone gets to stay in familiar settings and can keep their routines.”
But having the event at their home course provides one more benefit for the teams: a drive to make sure that they defend their turf. “We want to defend our house,” Moore said. “No one should be able to come in here and beat us.”
Every player this season has contributed to the Knights’ success and that’s by design. “There’s this saying that I’ve been telling them all year: ‘The strength of the wolf comes from the pack and the strength of the pack comes from the wolf,’” Moore said. “We’re strong as individuals and as a team. Everyone does their parts and is happy to do it.”
No one’s job is as important on the team as the upperclassmen leadership, however. They lead the team in exercises and stretches. If the upperclassmen show a dedication to those simple tasks, there is a trickle down effect that takes place.
“If the older guys stay just a few minutes longer, that really affects everyone,” Moore said. “It really drives everyone to be the best they are because they want to be like our leaders.”
The Knights will face some stiff competition at Regionals on Saturday Nov. 14, but if they keep sticking to the plan they’ve had all season, then they should be able to show the nation what’s coming at Nationals.