The New Paltz women’s cross country team placed 11th out of 40 schools at the Paul Short Invitational race in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania this past Saturday.
The women’s team placed in front of Division I schools such as Rider University, Siena College and St. Joseph’s University of Philadelphia in the event.
The New Paltz men’s team continues to make major improvements in their performance as well, taking 22nd place out of 40 opposing teams at the same event.
Both teams have been making progress this season, ranking higher in the region than they ever have in New Paltz history.
Fourth-year runner Terisa Woych defined the Paul Short Invitational as “a learning race.” At this race, the Hawks had the chance to see how other SUNY teams and surrounding regional teams have been running thus far.
She also said that these first few races have been preparation for championship meets such as SUNYACs, and most importantly, regionals.
“As we get stronger, so do the other teams,” she said.
Woych also talked about the positivity and overall feeling of confidence that the team has gained this season.
“Everyone is coming to practice with a purpose,” she said. “It’s really rewarding to get to the meets and have the results to show for all of our hard work.”
Head Coach Mike Trunkes said both teams have made plenty of improvements this season and that the men’s team this season is the best that New Paltz has ever seen.
“The team is really focused on working together,” Trunkes said. “Our co-captains, Mike Scher and Dave Lukas, are committed to making a difference this year.”
Trunkes said that the men’s team has real potential to be ranked within the top 10 in the region; the women’s team, within the top five or six in the region.
Both teams have been preparing for their next event. An important focus for both teams this season is mileage. The women’s team runs between 40-60 miles per week, while most runners on the men’s team run between 80-100 miles per week.
“Mileage is everything,” fourth-year runner Mike Scher said. “The difference this season is that we run more.”
The team focuses on a lot of aerobic and anaerobic workouts, tempo progression and sustained mile workouts in order to train for their highly competitive race reason. Scher said that Trunkes helps the team get into their best shape possible.
“[Trunkes] pushes the team as hard as he can,” Scher said. “He stresses rest and recovery.”
This is the first year the Hawks have ever looked to be in serious contention for an “at large bid for a Division III National Championship,” according to Trunkes. He has high expectations for both of his teams this season and plans to keep moving forward throughout the process, he said.
Both teams will travel to compete at the Connecticut College Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 18. This will serve as their last event of the regular season before SUNYAC Championships kick off on Saturday, Nov. 1 at The College at Brockport.
“Everybody has to come through and just step up to the line,” Woych said. “No pun intended.”