Cross Country Powers Through Rowan University Invite

The men's side finished seventh in the Rowan University Invite, while the women's side finished fourth overall. (Photo by Carlisle Stockton/Office of Communications and Marketing)

The cross country teams had a remarkable race against Rowan University in the Bill Fritz Invitational.

Second-year Cassandra Williams rallied from her first win at the Rob Stonitsch Invitational last Saturday, and brought home her second victory. She finished the 6K with a time of 23:14:13.

“I was very diligent and consistent with my summer training this past summer and it is very rewarding to see all that work pay off,” Williams said. “Compared to my past running experiences where I was usually anxious before races, this season, I am in a more excited and competitive mindset, which has caused me to feel better in races and in training in general.”

Both Williams and third-year Emily Cavanagh set the pace for the race. 

Not far behind Williams, Cavanagh finished fourth with a time of 23:20:94. The women runners scored 93 points overall to place fourth behind Vassar College (42), Rochester Institute of Technology (61) and Messiah College (78).

“On the women’s team, we need solid performances from our top four runners: Cassandra Williams, Emily Cavanagh, Vanessa Morgan and Clara Flores-Reininger,” said Hawks head coach Mike Trunkes. “We will need to close the gap down between our fourth and fifth runners. We have the people that are capable of making this happen by the end of the season.”

Trunkes attributes some of the women’s triumphs to this season’s new runners. First-years Clara Flores-Reininger and Mary Breckenridge have done an excellent job of assimilating and contributing to the women’s team.

In the Bill Fritz Invitational, Flores-Reinginger placed 15th with a time of 23:46:91 and Breckridge finished sixty-first with a time of 26:02:30.

“The foundation for successful distance running is training volume. Our top runners on the men’s team will run close to 70 miles per week and our top women will run 50 plus miles per week,” Trunkes said. “We do some challenging hill repeats and interval sessions thrown and a long run of 90 minutes to two hours on Sunday.”

The men’s team also had a solid performance in their 8K, despite losing one of their top runners, third-year Jack Wilson, to illness. Fourth-year Stephen Smith stepped up to the plate and carried the team, finishing thirteenth with a time of 27:02:47.

Barrett Celecki and Matt Whitworth finished neck and neck with times of 27:43:52 and 27:47:32. Celecki came in 30th and Whitworth came in 31st.

The men’s team collected 164 points to finish seventh overall.

Trunkes identified the men’s key to success: consistency. While the men’s team has a strong top five runners—Smith, Wilson, Celecki, Whitworth and first-year Conor Van Riper—they will have to maintain steady performances for the rest of the season to have a significant impact. According to Trunkes, they could easily be a top ten regional team and a top three team in the conference.

New Paltz will be racing against Lehigh University on Saturday, Sept. 29.

“Lehigh is going to be a larger meet than the ones we have had so far,” Williams said. “I am looking forward to testing myself and seeing what I am capable of when I am up against faster competition.”

Nicole Zanchelli
About Nicole Zanchelli 82 Articles
Nicole Zanchelli is a fourth-year journalism major with a sociology and Italian studies minor. This is her third semester on The Oracle. Previously, she worked as a sports assistant copy editor, an arts & entertainment copy editor and features copy editor. Her favorite articles to read and write deal with exposing corruption and analyzing social injustices.