Cross country strives to defeat competition in upcoming meets

Advancing through the fourth week of the season, the Geneseo men’s and women’s cross country teams have plenty to be excited about. With a dedicated “Top Seven”—the seven athletes who will compete in regionals and larger competitions—on both teams, the Knights will be respectable contenders on Saturday Sept. 23 at the Williams Purple Valley Classic in Massachusetts and the Harry F. Anderson Invitational in Rochester. 

Both the men’s and women’s teams are predicted to place highly in both meets, with senior runner Isaac Garcia-Cassani projected to take first place in Massachusetts.

Regardless of the teams’ expected success, the athletes are focused on constantly bettering themselves. Since cross country is an individual sport, aspects like improvement and strategy happen on an individual basis. 

As head coach Dan Moore puts it, the team relies on an “individualized program maximizing one’s strengths and minimizing their weaknesses.” 

Each runner has developed a weekly plan on their own, which is tailored to their personal abilities, according to Moore. For example, the runners in the men’s top seven’s mileage ranges from 35-100 miles a week. 

Workout plans are different for everyone, which is observed in Garcia-Cassani’s routine. Although Garcia-Cassani is currently Geneseo’s top runner, he runs fewer miles per week than his peers, because no two athletes are the same.

One of the main concerns for runners is how they spend their time when not running. Moore explained that it is key that runners control what they’re doing the other 22 hours in a day. Some of the main things that runners need to stay on top of outside of practice are healthy sleeping and eating habits–having a well-balanced diet and being well-rested can have a significantly positive impact on the runners’ overall results. 

“Little things can become big things,” Moore said. 

Adapting to this type of lifestyle requires a significant amount of self-discipline—a trait often found in dedicated athletes. The freshman runners are already demonstrating their self-discipline. The team has competed in two meets thus far this season; Saturday Sept. 23 will be the debut of the top seven runners.

The Knights will head into Saturday Sept. 23 with a concentrated mindset. The teams are concerned with defeating rivals such as Williams College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The No. 2 men’s team and No. 5 women’s team—as ranked by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for its preseason polls—have a high standard to maintain and are working hard to prove that they belong in the top five in the nation.