This past weekend, the men’s and women’s cross country team’s competed in the annual Vassar Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 9, where the men’s team finished sixth out of 10 schools and the women’s team finished third out of eight schools.
Hawks head coach Mike Trunkes liked the overall performance of the Hawks runners at the early season invitational.
“I thought we executed well for our season opener, it was great to see some of our runners set personal best times,” Trunkes said.
On the women’s side, some noteworthy performances that led to their third place finish came from second-year Vanessa Morgan, whose time of 19 minutes, 38.6 seconds, which propelled her to finish seventh. Fourth-year co-captain Katie Hempfling finished in 38th place with a time of 20:45.3. Hempfling thought the team had a strong performance at the invitational.
“This was a great starting point and I think that we will continue to improve from here. Most of the girls ran faster this year than they did last year, so I think that our team has a lot of potential for the rest of the season,” Hempfling said.
Other contributors to the women’s success include first-years Cassandra Williams, who finished in 13th place with a time 19:48.1, and Riley Loughlin, who finished right behind Hempfling in 39th place with a time of 20:47.5. Trunkes has been happy with the first-year runners’ contributions so far.
“The freshmen have transitioned very well so far to college cross country,” Trunkes said. “They don’t appear to get nervous and have maintained a positive attitude.”
On the men’s side, fourth-year co-captain Stephen Smith ran for a time of 20:13.0, which was good enough for 27th overall among men’s runners. Fourth-year co-captain Barrett Celecki recorded a time of 20:26.9, placing him 38th overall.
“I think our team performed as well as we could given our very slim roster of just five guys running. Some of our guys that would score points for us were injured so everyone had to step up to make up for their loss,” Celecki said.
Up next for the Hawks is a trip to the New England area for a meeting at UMass-Dartmouth on Saturday, Sept. 16. Trunkes is looking forward to this meeting based on the competition the Hawks will be facing.
“This meeting will have a good level of competition from the New England area, it will be a good test for us early on in the season,” he said.