Both cross-country teams competed in the Paul Short Run on Friday, Oct. 2 and the Rowan Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 17 in their final meets before the SUNYAC Championships.
The men finished 31st out of 39 teams and the women finished 44th out of 45 teams at the Paul Short Run.
For the Men’s team, third-year co-Captain Galo Vasquez had the fastest time for the Hawks at the Paul Short Run, clocking in at 25:41 in the 8K race.
Hawks second-year co-Captain Nick Cruz followed up with a 153rd place finish and first-year Jack Wilson finished 197th for New Paltz.
At the Rowan Invitational, the men’s team finished 17th out of 24 teams. Vasquez had the top finish for the Hawks again, placing 25th in the eight-kilometer race with a time of 25:21.99.
Hawks Head Coach Mike Trunkes said he was very pleased with how the teams ran in both competitions and believes the team can perform very well in the future.
“At Rowan we had a lot of guys run well there,” Trunkes said. “Paul Short was our first big meet in terms of number of athletes to compete against and the amount of high-level competition, so that really gets the guys accustomed to that kind of situation.”
The women’s team posted a total time of 2:01.46 at the Paul Short Run for the six-kilometer course, where Hawks third-year Rebecca Verrone and fourth-year co-Captain Danielle Halikias earned 212th and 218th finishes, respectively.
At the Rowan Invitational, the Hawks women’s team wrapped up the regular season with a 19th place finish out of 24 teams. Verrone was the top finisher for the women again, placing 80th in the competition with a time of 23:11.81. Hawks fourth-year Robyn Schaefer followed with a 121st place finish in a time of 23:52.98.
Even though the men’s team may have performed exceptionally at these events, Trunkes said the women still have some work to do.
“We just have to be positive,” Trunkes said. “I think at this stage in the season you have to be really positive and reinforce that we did a lot of good quality work. Regardless of prior race performances, you still have an opportunity to turn it around.”
Vasquez said that health is a large factor in the overall performance of the teams.
“Staying healthy is important,” Vasquez said. “We don’t have a large team where it’s okay if one guy isn’t feeling it and someone can fill their shoes. Sleep, eating well and maintaining physical health are all of the things the team needs to remind each other of on a day to day basis.”
If the men’s team can stay healthy and take the right steps over the next few weeks, Cruz said the team can have an outstanding finish.
“I believe this is the best team we’ve ever had,” Cruz said. “I expect this team will be able to place at least third in the SUNYAC tournament. This is a hard-working group of guys who have been putting in the necessary work since last year and as a team, our training has been great and I believe we’re ready to perform great at SUNYACs.”
The Hawks begin SUNYAC Championship play on Saturday Oct. 31 in Plattsburgh, where Halikias said it comes down to heart and dedication.
“The tournament is not going to be easy,” she said. “Each team that runs has their own fire and drive. Each team is so passionate, including ours and it is going to be a race of heart and dedication, not just talent and skill.”