Coming off a second and third place national finish respectively, the Geneseo women’s and men’s cross country teams both bound into the fall 2016 season ranked as number two in the nation. Led by head coach Dan Moore ’06, the teams look to go even farther this year. “They worked incredibly hard during the indoor and outdoor season to continue to elevate their fitness,” Moore said. “Another strong summer of training in the books, and both teams are showing they are deserving of the number two ranked teams in the country.”
Geneseo ranks high in the preseason polls, mainly due to the amount of returning runners to each of the two squads. This year will include the return of many of the top runners for the men’s team, including junior Isaac Garcia-Cassani, who lead the men’s team to their highest finish in program history with an eighth-place run at the NCAA Championships, landing him an All-American honors. Garcia-Cassani’s success in cross country also led to many achievements during the subsequent track season.
“[Garcia-Cassani] earned two All-American honors with his third place finish in the mile and third place finish in the DMR,” Moore said. “He also finished third place at the outdoor NCAA Championships in the 1500m.”
If anything, this only indicates that Garcia-Cassani has no intention of letting up. This year also brings an impressive group of freshman, including Sean McAneny.
“[McAneny] has shown his fitness early on, and the anticipation for what he will do this season is nail biting,” Moore said.
The women’s team also shows a large return, fielding six of the top seven runners from last year. Leading the charge is senior Sara Rosenzweig, who finished 37th in the nation last season. She also earned All-American honors last spring in the steeplechase event.
Also in the mix is senior Kelly Flanagan and sophomore Anna Galbraith, who have gotten off to a quick start this season, snagging second and fourth place respectively on Friday Sept. 2 at the Cardinal Early Season Invitational, hosted by St. John Fisher College.
The invitational saw the two teams not only take their first laps for this season, but also resulted in a first place run for the men’s and second place for the women’s overall with some strong individual performances.
The men’s squad put up an impressive fight, finishing score-line with freshman Lucas Sutton leading the charge in fifth place. He would be followed immediately by several of his teammates, including junior Nick Termine in sixth place and freshmen Stephen Loce and Kevin Seitz in seventh and eighth place, respectively. Junior Kyle Chesterman rounded out the top five scorers with his 11th place finish, allowing the men to narrowly slip by Rochester Institute of Technology for their first win of the season.
Flanagan and Galbrath also met the women’s squad with promising performances, both finishing with top five placements. Following them were junior Marisa Gingello in ninth, sophomore Audrey Button in 16th and junior Julianna Lauricella in 21st, assisting the team to their overall second place finish.
Both teams will surely seek to improve their times with the addition of last year’s experienced runners and the improvement of an unexpected number of underclassmen—an opportunity available through meets such as Friday Sept. 2’s invitational. Either way, both programs have shown that they are off to a great start and have even more potential, according to Moore.
“A national championship on both sides is not out of the question at all. It will take them being a little sharper, a little more on point than they were last year to achieve their goals,” Moore said. “They can do it. They believe. I believe.”