The NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships were held in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 19. Both the men’s and women’s teams showed up with high expectations and competitive attitudes in order to leave with success. The Geneseo men’s cross country team took 2nd place while the Geneseo women’s cross country team took 3rd place. Coming into the day, the men’s team was seeded 2nd and the women’s team was seeded 3rd. Both teams affirmed their respective seeding with their performance, which is “a testament to the athletes’ hard work and dedication,” according to head coach Dan Moore. Though the Knights were hoping to win 1st place, it is still an incredible feat to run equal to their seed.
“We thought we could try to go for the national championship on the men’s side and the women’s side, and they came up just short. It’s not what our athletes didn’t do, it’s just how good the other teams ran,” Moore said.
The teams ran as expected and to their fitness level; it came down to the other schools running better than what was expected for them. In hindsight, the women could have finished 2nd if they had chosen to run conservatively, but the Knights decided to run to win and to give 100 percent. Nevertheless, both the men’s and women’s teams made it to the podium, which is a great accomplishment not only for the individuals, but also for Geneseo.
Moore won the Cross Country Coach of the Year award for the Atlantic region for both the men’s and women’s categories.
“It’s a peer recognized accomplishment, but it’s nothing that I’m doing,” Moore said. “It’s a testament to the athletes’ hard work, and it’s not just me, it’s the whole coaching staff.”
Moore thinks that because the athletes believe in what they want to do and what the coaches are laying down, success naturally follows that attitude.
Next season will be very different for the men’s and women’s teams. The men’s team is returning a strong core of athletes who competed this year. They have three levels of goals they hope to accomplish: they want to get on the podium again, they would like to repeat the performance of this year and they would like to win the championship. The last goal is the loftiest, but a very strong possibility for a group of runners that talented.
The women’s team has seven seniors graduating this year, so next season will be one of reloading and readjusting.
“It is an opportunity for the younger individuals to step up, to take on leadership roles and to be the face of Geneseo cross country,” Moore said.
Those graduating will have to lead and show the new athletes the ropes, but they seem more than up to the task. It will be the group of girls that do return who decide what the program will be in the upcoming years. They hope to get to nationals and, again, to finish on the podium.
Moore concluded expressing his “excitement for next year” as well as the “challenges ahead.” Both the men’s and women’s teams performed outstandingly, even if they didn’t come home with the first place trophy.