The women’s cross country team won the SUNYAC Championship for the ninth year in a row led by their outstanding captain, senior Genny Corcoran.
Six Knights placed inside the top 10 of the runners in the SUNYAC finals on Saturday Nov. 2, with Corcoran standing out from the pack as she finished first; almost 50 seconds before any other runner only further demonstrating Geneseo’s two decade-long run of dominance in SUNYAC competition.
The win on Saturday marked the seventh straight time a Geneseo runner has been the winner of the SUNYAC championships and gives Geneseo another shot at a national title under Head Coach Dan Moore, who has led the team to top five finishes each of his first five years as coach for the Knights.
As previously mentioned, Corcoran kicked off the day with a solid performance in her last SUNYAC Championship as a Knight. She finished with a time of 22:08.8, just about 47 seconds before second-place finisher and fellow Knight, junior Mariellen Penzer. To put that in perspective, that means that Corcoran averaged about 6.2 minutes per each mile she finished in the six-kilometer race.
Penzer had a strong performance as well, finishing with a time of 22:56.4 and setting her and Corcoran apart as the only finishers with a time within the 22-minute mark. Penzer’s top 20 finish marked her third time this season placing within that threshold, which has been key to the Knights’ successful season this year.
Coming in fifth was freshman Windsor Ardner with a time of 23:15.8, joined by fellow standout freshman Ciara Knott who ended the day in ninth place and a time of 23:44.6. The top-five finish was even more important for Ardner who had been battling injury for much of the season, making her performance that much more impressive.
Finishing within ten seconds of each other were junior Melissa Graham and senior Annibell Coolican, with Graham placing seventh in the race and Coolican following her in eighth. Graham timed out with 23:28.2 and Coolican clocked in a time of 23:37.3 to add to an already excellent day for the Knights.
Rounding out the meet was junior Eileen Reinhardt, who finished 13th with a time of 24:11.1 giving the Knights a score of 23 in the match, leading the second-place finisher New Paltz by a whopping 27 points.
The Knights appear to be in a league of their own this season and, as Corcoran explains, the reason is their mentality. “The strength of GXC this season has been ‘pack mentality.’ Each and every girl pushes the next to get better. We would not be able to accomplish our goals without believing in each other,” she said. “What sets us apart from other teams is believing … I believe what will put us on the podium in the future is that we trust each other and our training when we toe the line.”
Penzer added to Corcoran’s thoughts on the team mentality, saying this belief would lead the team to nationals once again. “For regionals, it’s going to be more of a challenge for us, but I fully believe that you’ll see the Geneseo girls at nationals in Kentucky in the future,” she said. “As for the success so far this season, we have a great coach and an awesome group of girls who have big goals and a drive to reach them.”
Cross country seems to get better every year and this year might just be the year for the Knights to win it all. If Corcoran is able to keep up her torrid pace, Geneseo will have a great chance at hoisting their first National Championship.
Cross country runs next on Nov. 16 in the Atlantic Region Championships at St. Lawrence College.