The Men and Women’s cross-country teams enjoyed two weeks free of competition before their important meet, the Paul Short Run, on Friday, Oct. 2.
Although both teams were not actively competing during this break, Hawks Head Coach Mike Trunkes said the team used this time to focus on quality workouts and preparing for their hectic semester full of races.
“I am pleased at where our runners are at this point in the season,” Trunkes said. “They seem confident and eager to get into the meat of their racing season, which really begins at Paul Short.”
In their last meet, both teams participated in the Plattsburgh Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 19. The Men’s team placed second out of six teams, and the Women’s finished third out of six teams.
The Men’s team averaged 27:35 on the eight-kilometer course for a total of 35 points.
Third-year co-Captain Galo Vasquez, second-year co-Captain Nick Cruz and first-year Jack Wilson turned in a 5-6-7 finish for New Paltz. Vasquez earned fifth place with a time of 27:04.4 while Cruz finished behind in 27:08.7 for sixth place. Wilson finished seventh with a time of 27:23.0.
Hawks third-year Josh Korn crossed the line in a time of 28:05.1 to finish tenth overall. Third-year Nick Aprigliano turned in a time of 28:16.2 for a twelfth-place finish.
On the Women’s side, New Paltz averaged 24:41 for the six-kilometer course to earn 60 points.
Hawks third-years Rebecca Verrone and Taryn Colon had the top two finishes and times for New Paltz. Verrone crossed the finish line in 24:12.01 to earn eighth place, while Colon followed close behind with a time of 24:19.1 for ninth place.
Hawks second-year Katie Hempfling had the third-fastest time for New Paltz, clocking in at 24:45.7 for a twelfth-place effort. Hawks fourth-year co-Captain Danielle Halikias earned a thirteenth-place finish with a time of 24:54.8.
Trunkes said that the teams are training at high levels with difficult workouts, yet recovering fairly quickly. This two-week break is planned each year in order for the teams to focus on their training without the distraction of competitions.
“Too much racing can really wear people out,” Trunkes said.
To prepare, the teams learn from their previous meets this semester and recognize what they need to improve on so the teams can work on dialing or skill development to enhance their end of the season performances.
Currently, the teams are in their heavy workload phase, which includes high-intensity race paced running and lasts until mid October when championships roll around.
“I think we’re doing great,” Vasquez said. “We’re at a physical peak, the best we’ve been since the end of our season last spring. Everybody is ready to get a PR.”
A PR, or personal record, is the time it takes each runner to complete a particular distance, something each runner strives to improve with each attempt.
The Paul Short Run takes place at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. From here on, the teams are on a biweekly race schedule. Upcoming races are the Rowan Invitational on Oct. 17, State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Championships on Oct. 31, NCAA Atlantic Regionals on Nov. 14 and NCAA Championships on Nov. 21.
“I feel confident in my team. We had times where we were exhausted and still pulled through. We have six girls finishing within a minute of each other,” Halikias said. “We’re ready.”