The Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams at SUNY New Paltz finished SUNYAC competition on Oct. 27 as they travelled to SUNY Fredonia to compete in the annual conference tournament.
Out of 10 teams, the men finished eighth while the women finished fifth.
Head Coach Mike Trunkes said he is satisfied with both teams’ performances, especially since key runners suffered injuries going into the tournament.
“I thought the men would have the potential to move up into eighth place this fall and they did,” Trunkes said. “The women could have finished anywhere from third to fifth. We lost Kelly Mahoney who has been a solid fourth runner for us all fall, so after that I thought it would be tough for us to move past Oneonta or Cortland.”
SUNY Geneseo finished first in both the men’s and women’s tournaments, and Coach Trunkes sees traits in their performance that motivates him to make SUNY New Paltz put on even greater performances.
“They’re not just good one through seven, they’re good all the way to 14,” he said. “We have to be consistent year round if we want to be competitive.”
Fourth-year Co-Captain Nichole Wischoff was inducted into the SUNYAC Women’s Cross Country Hall of Fame, making her the first runner in the program to do so. She finished the race with a time of 23:41.70, which was good for fifth place overall, according to Nphawks.com.
In order to make the Hall of Fame, runners must have finished in the top five once, the top 10 twice, or the top 15 three times at the SUNYAC Cross Country Championships, according to Nphawks.com.
Wischoff said her performance and placement in the Hall of Fame reflects the goals she set when she first started.
“It has always been a dream of mine,” Wischoff said. “This is a really hard sport, and working consistently hard is the most important thing.”
Despite her recent achievements, Wischoff said she is keeping her focus on the Atlantic Regional Championships that take place on Nov. 9 in Rochester, N.Y. After regionals, the best runners around the country will be selected to compete at the NCAA Tournament, held in Indiana.
Third-year Amanda Wolfer placed 13th at SUNYACs and has a good chance of joining Wischoff at the national level.
“[Wolfer] has improved so much and I really believe that she will be right there next to me on the plane to Indiana this year,” Wischoff said. “It would be such an honor to share this experience with my teammate.”
Out of 121 harriers in the Men’s SUNYAC Cross Country Championships, second-year Mike Scher and third-year Rob Gorski finished in 49th and 50th place, the two top performances for the men’s team.
Fourth-year Co-Captain Ethan Cohen said he was happy with the results of the tournament and has high hopes for the future as well.
“Personally, I thought my individual performance could have been a lot better, but every year as a team our numbers improve,” he said. “We will keep getting better.”
As regionals approach, Cohen said both teams have to prepare properly. While training for cross country is hard work all year round, Cohen said that bringing down the volume of training will earn better results.
“We usually run 90 miles a week,” Cohen said. “But leading up to regionals, we will probably run 50 or 60 miles a week, so that we have fresher legs.”