The Geneseo men’s and women’s cross country teams can look back and smile, knowing that they did what few teams in the history of Division III have ever done. By having both the men and the women end up on the podium at the end of Nationals, they become just the ninth team in the history of Division III to ever do so.
“To be able to do exactly what we had set out from the beginning of the year to do is amazing,” head coach Dan Moore said. “We were able to show how strong of a program Geneseo is.”
The men’s team came in third place; the women were able to secure second place overall—both amazing feats. Both teams had All-American athletes; sophomore Isaac Garcia-Cassani for the men and senior Jacquie Huben for the women earned the honors. Both of these runners were the top finishers for their respective teams.
Moore was quick to share the credit for the success of this season. “[Former head coach Mike Woods ‘69] did such a phenomenal job over the past 23 seasons setting us up for success. Everything can be traced back to him,” he said. “Everyone—the trainers, the assistants, everyone—did such a good job of making sure that we were always at the top of our game. That was instrumental to our goals this year.”
Furthermore, the fact that in his first season as head coach Moore was able to lead both teams on the national podium is quite an outstanding accomplishment.
“It’s amazing, really,” Moore said. “To be able to see what we’ve accomplished and also to think that we can get even better, it’s crazy.”
Moore stressed that the mental toughness of his athletes is second to none. “The whole season, we talked about ‘Find your why.’ It really drove out runners to do this for them, in addition to doing it for the team,” he said. “It added a layer to the season and that really helped us.”
Having the physical and mental stamina to go out for the majority of the semester and have practices, meets, traveling and more—in addition to having all of the regular stress of college academics—is staggering. To then have the runners of the men’s and women’s cross country teams go out and do as well as they did on the national stage is an amazing feat.
The Knights put themselves in the history books as one of the few programs to be good enough to put both squads on the podium at the end of the season. In the coming years, the Knights are going to have to prove that this wasn’t a fluke. Moore’s dedication that he carries personally and instills in his athletes, however, implies that this shouldn’t be an issue.
“This is a pretty high bar to set for my first season but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Moore said. “To try and beat this result every year is something I’m looking forward to.”