The cross country teams took a breather at the Rochester Invitational hosted by the University of Rochester on Saturday Sept. 17. Competing on a partial squad for both teams, the men ran to a 13/29 finish while the women placed 18/29. Head coach Dan Moore said that this invitational “gave an opportunity for younger members of the team to be the front runners” as well as “giving them the valuable experience in scoring points.” Moore also said that the team is looking to build upon their fitness.
“My philosophy is to race less and train more to give them the edge when it comes down to the end of the season,” Moore said.
The Knights had just come off of a blowout at the Oswego Invitational on Sept. 10—where Geneseo took first in both men’s and women’s—when they went into the Rochester Invitational.
“We didn’t use our full strength in Oswego; we saw it more as a workout. We wanted to showcase our fitness, but not reveal everything we have,” Moore said. “Knowing that and how high they placed, it puts an exclamation point on how fit we truly are and shows that our number two ranking in both programs is truly legitimate.”
The Knights will see one of the highest hills they will have to jog on this season on Saturday Sept. 24. There, the Knights will compete at the Purple Valley Classic, hosted by Williams College in Massachusetts.
“Williams is the number one [team] in the country on the women’s side and number three on the men’s,” Moore said. “It’s really a sneak preview of what nationals is going to look like and who’s going to push us this early in the season. We purposely scheduled this meet to test how we fare right now in a highly competitive setting.”
The Knights are no strangers at being near the top of the standings, regularly clashing during the post-season. Being able to test their mettle against one of the strongest contenders in the nation is certainly something Geneseo looks forward to, as it can be used both as a marker to determine where they currently stand as well as a way to gain more experience against teams they’ll see later in the season on the national stage.
“This year, the Williams meet is stacked; it’ll be one of our greatest challenges of the year, but certainly a way to showcase what we have,” Moore said. “Cross country athletes come to Geneseo for that reason. In reality, there are not a lot of programs that can proudly say, ‘If you come here, you have an opportunity to win a national championship’ like we can.”
Nevertheless, the meet on Saturday Sept. 24 will prove to be an exciting match for both squads, as the energy and implications are high. Geneseo will look to take double first again, which could propel both squads into the national first seed conversation, given the close gaps at the top.