Cross Country Prepares for SUNYAC Championship Meet

Third-year Emily Cavanaugh led the Hawks on the women’s side, finishing 13th overall with a time of 22:17.8 in the Connecticut College invite meet. (Photo Courtesy of Michael Boms)

After a disappointing performance at the Paul Short Run on Sept. 29, the Hawks bounced back with a strong performance by both the men and the women at the Connecticut College Invite on Saturday.

The women finished 11th overall out of 25 teams, while the men finished 18th overall out of 27 teams.

“I thought both teams did a nice job of bouncing back from Paul Short,” said Hawks head coach Mike Trunkes. “We had a discussion about that race afterward and there were a number of minor issues that needed to be corrected. The teams did a nice job of instituting the changes, and as a result, we had an excellent day at Conn College.”

Third-year Emily Cavanaugh led the Hawks on the women’s side, finishing 13th overall with a time of 22:17.8. Third-years Cassandra Williams and Vanessa Morgan both achieved personal bests of 22:49.5 and 23:26.2, placing 33rd and 70th, respectively. Also in New Paltz’s top five was first-year Clara Flores-Reininger with a 105th-place finish and time of 24:02.2 and third-year Amanda Engrassia, placing 117th with a time of 24:15.

“Emily Cavanagh had what I thought was her best race to date as a Hawk,” Trunkes said. “Her 13th place finish in a field of nine nationally ranked teams was really impressive. This race clearly defined her as one of the elite runners in the Atlantic Region.”

Trunkes added that Williams is “poised for a championship season,” and that Morgan was given a confidence boost by her breakout race.

Third-year Julia Eddy (162nd, 24:49.1), first-year Mary Breckenridge (171st, 25:02.8), second-year Riley Loughlin (181st, 25:16.9), second-year Diana Testa (212nd, 25:54.4) and second-year Sophie Herrmann (271st, 27:49.1) rounded out the rest of SUNY New Paltz’s runners.

“We are all just super focused on staying mentally strong and motivated,” Cavanagh said. “We have months of training under our belts, and at this point it’s really just a matter of visualizing how you want to do in your race and then just going for it.”

Although the Hawks were without their top runner, fourth-year Stephen Smith on the men’s side, the younger runners were able to step up to the challenge. First-year Conor Van Riper was the men’s top runner of the day, with a 32nd-place finish and a time of 25:47, making him the fastest freshman to run an 8K in program history.

Third-year Jack Wilson was the Hawks’ second overall runner after his 126th place finish, clocking in at 26:45.4. Third-year Matt Whitworth overcame a fall in the first 150 meters to finish slightly behind Wilson in 133rd, with a time of 26:48.7. Fourth-years Barrett Celecki (145th, 26:53.9) and Tom Rizzo (257th, 27:55.8) rounded out the team’s top-five harriers. First-year Chris D’Antonio (28:36.8) and second-year Skylar Rubin (29:37.2) finished 316st and 356st, respectively.

“We will continue to work with the same mentality that helped us perform so strongly at Conn College,” Van Riper said. “We are a strong team, if we acknowledge that we will put on a show.”

The Hawks scored 524 points on the men’s and 296 points on the women’s, placing ahead of conference rival Plattsburgh State, who finished 20th and 21st in the men’s and women’s standings, respectively. The Hawks will see the Cardinals and the rest of the State University of New York Athletic Conference in the SUNYAC meet on Oct. 27 at Fredonia State.