There are few times that a coach can come into a season with such lofty goals as cross country head coach Dan Moore had and then deliver them all. At the beginning of the season, Moore expressed his optimism that both his men’s and women’s teams had the potential to end up on the podium at the season’s conclusion. Both teams were not only able to deliver that result, but were able to exceed Moore’s expectations.
“I knew at the beginning of the season that our women had a very good chance to end the season on the podium,” Moore said. “The men’s team was very good and they kept getting better all year long. So to have both our teams end up on the podium was really something else.”
Moore explained that when the men and the women steamrolled their competition throughout the season, the athletes were all incredibly confident in their individual abilities and their work as a team to take them all the way to the top.
“Our athletes believed all year long that they were one of the best groups in the nation and they were able to prove that to themselves and to the rest of the country,” Moore said.
Moore added that he often told both teams that they were among the best in the nation; rhetoric that was based heavily in truth.
“[Former head coach Mike Woods ‘69] left me such a strong base and upperclassmen,” he said. “This was one of our strongest teams in a long time.”
This year’s Knights are one of only nine teams in the history of Division III cross country that has ever managed to get both their men’s and women’s teams on the podium in the same season, an accomplishment that Moore thinks very highly of.
“Most teams in the country are strong on only one side, either the men or the women. But our program is just that good; we can get both our squads up there,” Moore said. “It really amazes me.”
Considering that it is only his first season, being named the SUNYAC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year is a major accolade for Moore. Despite Woods’ impressive legacy, Moore did something that his predecessor wasn’t able to: take home hardware for both teams in the same year. But Moore was quick to admit that without the leadership over the past 20 years from Woods, this program would be nothing like it is now.
“Woodsie was and is the reason for our success. Without him, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we just did,” Moore said. “We owe everything to him.”
Given the amazing success of his first season, there seems to be little room for Moore and his teams to improve going forward—if only for both teams to take home first place. And that is a strong possibility for a group of such gifted athletes. The sky is the limit for these teams moving forward and Moore wouldn’t have it any other way.