Cross country exudes confidence, consistency

Geneseo saw both of the Knights cross-country squads preparing for the postseason with a run at the Inter-Regional Border Battle, hosted in Rowan, New Jersey on Saturday Oct. 15. While the meet was more of a preparation and water-tester than a full-blown race, both squads performed well. The men ran to another first place victory, while the women finished third amidst a tougher field of competitors.

Junior Isaac Garcia-Cassani yet again crossed the line first, with a time of 23:19.9 to extend his first-place streak to four. He led the Knights to a commanding victory; totaling 71 to outpace second place No. 5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology with 127 points. This win is the men’s fifth of the season, and will help continue their hold onto the No. 1 national ranking heading into the postseason.

On thoughts about the impending SUNYAC Championships for the squad, head coach Dan Moore has no plans for his team to lighten the pace.

“My challenge to them is Geneseo versus the rest of the field: the entire SUNYAC field’s score against ours,” Moore said. “The support is also going to be huge, in the 100s, and include athletic teams like track and field, and regulars in the community … The team is going to be really pumped for the end of the month.”

Moore said he thinks the cross country teams will slide right through regionals. While Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Saint Lawrence University and New York University have strong teams, Geneseo is dominating. “Our battle is with [No. 2] North Central University at nationals,” Moore said. “They have the most successful and historical program in Division III cross country history. They are good, but I think right now we’re better. It’s going to be a battle, we’re favored, but they have a No. 1 runner that can run with Isaac [Garcia-Cassani]. We have to wait and see what happens.”

On the women’s side, a third place finish among a field of 46 shows that they’re still at the top, but have a tremendous amount of competition moving forward.

“I knew John Hopkins University was the team to beat; they’ve only raced [Division] I competition all year, and for whatever reason they were being underrepresented in the polls,” Moore said.

In fact, it was that same No. 4 John Hopkins team that took first at the pre-regional for the women, putting up 70 points and outpacing No. 2 MIT with 134 and third place Geneseo with 136. Seniors Marissa Cossaro and Sara Rosenzweig crossed ninth and 10th overall and helped secure third place for the Knights.

“[John Hopkins] came out very strong and put seven in front of our third. We were without one of our top runners, and we’re training on tired legs,” Moore said. “They freshened up for this meet, but we are going to be on top of them at nationals. If they think they have us beat, they have something else coming.”

Geneseo will return to action at the end of the month at Letchworth State Park for the SUNYAC Championships on Oct. 29.