Cross country teams both place first at Mike Woods Invitational, aspire to add to the win column at next meet

On Saturday Sept. 28, the men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the 39th annual Mike Woods Geneseo Cross Country Invitational. Both groups showcased their abilities with numerous runners having impressive performances. 

Geneseo’s men’s team competed in the 8-kilometer run and won with an overall score of 33, with senior Sean McAneny having the fastest time of all competitors at 25:21.8. The closest individual runner was SUNY Delhi junior Abshir Yerow at 25:35.6. 

Interestingly, despite only having one runner in the top 10, Ithaca College came the closest to defeating Geneseo with a score of 78—55 points worse than Geneseo. This shows that, like most team sports, the collective effort of the entire team is more essential than individual stand-out performances. 

Thankfully, the entire cross country team works together and is constantly improving. Freshman Zach Gauronski says that the sport they are a part of is helpful for building themselves up as the best athletes they can be. “Cross country teaches my teammates and myself the importance of strength, grit, determination and perseverance,” he said. 

According to Gauronski, these skills not only help in becoming a better runner but also assist in other aspects of everyday life. 

Moving forward, the men’s team looks to continue its dominant performances with their versatile roster. 

Facing off against 21 different schools, the women’s squad also outran their competitors in the 6-kilometer run. Like the men, a Geneseo athlete led the way of all participants, as senior Genny Corcoran had a time of 21:19.7. Corcoran’s impressive time was the backbone of an already stellar score by the Knights. Overall, the team won with a score of 37, which was 38 points better than second-place Rochester Institute of Technology. 

Among the ten fastest runners were three Knights, with Corcoran, senior Taylor Rettig and freshmen Windsor Ardner all having elite outings. 

According to sophomore Tess Duignan, however, the keys to success go beyond simply outrunning their opponents. “For this semester, I really hope to make an impact on the team culture,” she said. 

While Duignan concedes that she may not be the best long-distance runner on the team, she and others are contributing by fostering a profound influence on how the team pushes itself to perform as well as they’re truly capable of. “Our team wants to create a positive environment built on close friendships, by supporting teammates so they can achieve their goals.” 

Unsung athletes like Duignan are the reason why the Knights have such significant comradery and success. Each team member has unique intangibles that make the overall team cohesive as well as formidable. Anyone observing the team’s practices will attest to the tremendous solidarity which bonds each member to one another. 

While both the men’s and women’s team’s early success should be celebrated, many challenges remain ahead. The next competition is on Oct. 5 at the Lehigh Paul Short Run and the Houston Highlander Invitational. Even though it’s only going to get tougher from here, the Knights are up for the challenge.