Cross Country Finishes Second in Vassar Invite

The State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz men’s and women’s cross country team’s created a good benchmark to measure their progress at the Vassar Ron Stonitsch Invitational on Sept. 8.

The women’s team finished second behind Vassar and were only 14 points away from obtaining the first seed. The men’s team also finished second, with a total time of 1:40:16 and a score of 42 points.

Both teams gained a sense of where they’re at individually, and know what they need to improve on just from the first two races in order to succeed this upcoming season.

“[On the women’s side] we have a couple of the top runners in the region that can finish in a regional championship inside the top 15/ 20 runners,” said Hawks head coach Mike Trunkes. “I think three of our girls have an excellent shot; Cassandra Williams, Emily Cavanagh, and Vanessa Morgan.”

Second-year Cassandra Williams won her first overall victory as a Hawk with a time of 19 minutes and 6.9 seconds. In second came third-year Emily Cavanagh, finishing at 19 minutes and 10.3 seconds. Third-year Vanessa Morgan also placed in the top ten, coming in with a time of 19 minutes and 40.5 seconds. The women totaled 44 points all together.

On the men’s side, fourth-year Stephen Smith finished fourth with an average mile time 5:18.4 while third-year Jack Wilson averaged a time of 5:20.3 for fifth place. First-year Conor Van Riper also reached the top ten with an average mile time of 5:23.0.

“I’m super excited about the men’s team this year because of the depth,” Trunkes said. “We’re looking good on the men’s side and we should make some significant improvements.”

Third-year Matt Whitworth and fourth-year Barrett Celecki also reached the top-15 for the men, coming in at 20:10.3 and 20:20.4, respectively.

“Honestly, I’m excited to see our newcomers perform and our returners run faster than last year,” Celecki said. “We have a really impressive team this year and our first 8K should prove just how fast we are.”

Although the head coach and team members have primary goals set for the next race, it is important for what lies ahead in the future of bettering their individual scores and lowering the scores.

“The regional championship is our primary focus; conference championship is our secondary,” Trunkes said.

Reflecting on how well the spring season ended last year, Mike Trunkes has only positive commentary on what has yet to come for his athletes.

“Our main goal and objective is to run a solid effort, probably to pack up a little bit more; we’re less concerned about actually winning the race and more just packing up and run a tactically smart effort.” Trunkes said.

The Hawks will race again on Sept. 15 at the Rowan University Invite.