Women’s Cross Country ended it’s season on the right track, jumping up one place in the SUNYAC conference and moving up three spots at the NCAA Division III Atlantic Regional Cross Country Championships.
The women’s team placed fifth out of 10 at SUNYACs and 13th out of 33 teams at the regional championships.
“We had a really excellent season,” said Cross Country Head Coach Mike Trunkes. “We have done a lot of great work this season and it sets us up to do even better in the future.”
Trunkes and team members are in agreement that this season was a drastic improvement from last season. Aside from the accomplishments the team has made as a collective group, individuals have also succeeded such as second-year Nichole Wischoff and fourth-year Danielle Harmon, who now holds the SUNY New Paltz record for the 6K with a time of 23:24:6.
“Danielle has definitely been our most consistent runner over the past four years. She always pushes herself to do her best and has a quiet, assured confidence to her,” Trunkes said. “Her and Nichole have been very back and forth this season. They are always pushing each other to do better than the other, which sets a good example for the rest of the team and brings us as a group to the next level.”
This season, Trunkes said Wischoff and Harmon have had the most success running Cross Country for New Paltz’s Women’s Team. Both women clocked strong times throughout the entire season and their successes have pushed the others to improve themselves. Not only do they have this to drive them, but they also are both gifted runners who are always willing to work extremely hard.
Harmon attributed her success to all of the hard work she put into the season.
“I think that people can be naturally fast, but I also think that that does not amount to much if you are not willing to work hard for what you want and get to where you want to go,” Harmon said.
Working hard was something Wischoff believed was important as well.
“I have been working really hard,” said Wischoff when asked the same question, “I run about 60-65 miles per week, and I think that is what has made me better. If we all put in the effort we can put ourselves even higher in the standings.”
New Paltz’s main competitors every year are the SUNYAC schools, and they are the schools that Trunkes wants to keep the most focus on now and in the future.
“We are really proud and excited that we were able to beat Brockport and Oneonta, who are both nationally ranked teams,” Trunkes said. “Cortland, Geneseo and Plattsburgh finished in the top three for the championships this season and are all nationally ranked. Next season, we are looking to be more competitive with these teams.”
Along with upping the competitiveness of the team, Trunkes and his athletes are focusing mostly on the championship stretch for next season, and are looking to keep growing as a team.
“I think that if everyone works really hard, we can get to where we need to be. It takes commitment and time, but we have a young team, and I think that if everyone buckles down, we’re going to be able to just run,” Trunkes said.