The Geneseo men’s and women’s cross country teams are both the 2017 SUNYAC champions—marking this as the fourth consecutive crown for the men and the seventh for the women.
The victory brings the men to a total of 17 SUNYAC championships, the most in SUNYAC history. Coincidentally, this also marks the 17th championship for the women, who pass SUNY Cortland for the most championship wins on the women’s side.
Four athletes on the men’s team placed in the top 10—senior runners Isaac Garcia-Cassani in first, Connor Pulvidente in third, Alex Burks in fifth and sophomore Sean McAneny in ninth. Garcia-Cassani finished more than 11 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
The women took the top four times and placed six athletes in the top 10—runners junior Elise Ramirez in first, senior Kristen Homeyer in second, junior Allison Fernandez in third and junior Dana Cebulski in fourth.
Freshman runner Carissa DiTullio and sophomore runner Genny Corcoran finished shortly after, claiming seventh and eighth, respectively.
Ramirez modestly believes the teams’ success comes from its coaches.
“Our coaching staff is the reason we dominate the SUNYAC. Their dedication to our sport is inspiring and they make it easy for us to give our all in every single race,” Ramirez said. “From standing in the rain during workouts, to walking around Letchworth for hours mapping out the perfect path, to losing sleep calculating exactly what works best for each athlete, they invest so much time and energy into us.”
The coaches’ presence was key to the victory of both teams.
“Whether it was [assistant coach Chris Popovici] reminding us to drop our arms, [head coach Dan Moore] telling us to look up to the next girl or [assistant coach Ben Wach] assuring us we were in great position,” Ramirez said. “We saw a coach at the top of every hill and around every turn in that race.”
Moore is extremely pleased about the win.
“It feels good to be champions again. It’s definitely rewarding. This was the goal all season. They way in which they won was also exciting,” Moore said. “I was proud to witness them this past weekend and see all their efforts pay off. The success of our program runs deep in the roster; all the way from our 35th runner to our first.”
Moore explained that everyone on the team has an impact on their fellow teammates.“The 35th pushes the 34th, the 34th pushes the 33rd, and so on—it’s like a domino effect,” Moore said. “It was also good to see many non-competitors drive the four hours to support the team. It doesn’t matter if they are on the team or not, everyone was a part of the success.”
The season is far from over for the Knights. Both the men’s and women’s teams will compete in the NCAA Atlantic Regionals in early November. If they perform well at regionals, they will move on to the NCAA Division III Championships a week later.
“Our goal is to win both,” Moore said. “Everything is coming together. First, we have a little work to do, and then recovery. I’m excited to see what we can do after we freshen up. Both the men and women are ranked third nationally, and I think we can come home with two Division III trophies.”
Ramirez shares Moore’s confidence.
“We look forward to winning regionals next weekend and standing on the podium at nationals the following week,” Ramirez said.
The Knights will travel to nearby Houghton, N.Y. for the NCAA Atlantic Regionals on Nov. 11. The NCAA Division III Championships will take place on Nov. 18 in Elsah, Ill.