On Nov. 16 the men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Atlantic Regional Cross Country Championships hosted by St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY.
First for the men was the 8K where there were over 299 participants, and fourth-year Matt Whitworth came in 16th with a time of 25:42.9. Second-year Conor Van Riper came in 33rd for the Hawks at 26:03.7 while almost eight seconds later fourth-year Jack Wilson came in at 26:11.4 taking 39th. Second-year Jake Meyers came in 79th at 26:47.6 and third-year Ryan Tso came in 177th at 28:19.5. Second-year Chris D’Antonio came in 192nd at 28:42.7. First-year Ryan Carrick came in last for the Hawks in 199th place at 28:53.5.
The men’s team took 14th out of 42 teams with a total team score of 344 and an average time of 26:37.1 to complete the 8K. Whitworth earned 16 points for the team, Van Riper earned 33, and so on and so forth based on their placement in the race. Sadly, D’Antonio and Carrick did not contribute to the Hawks’ total points because they didn’t place within the top five.
“Saturday was amazing. Everyone on both teams stepped up in the arctic conditions of Canton for a climactic finish for team competition,” Van Riper said. “Coach was able to provide us with a serious approach while running, while maintaining the self-driven community we had already fostered.”
“The skills my teammates already [possessed] were allowed to bloom in this new environment and we’ve come out a refined and competitive group of runners,” Van Riper continued.
For the women’s team’s 6K, fourth-year Emily Cavanagh came in sixth with a time of 22:36.7. Third-year Cassandra Williams came in 16th at 23:05.6. Second-year Clara Flores-Reininger followed in 62nd place with a time of 24:07.4. Fourth-year Vanessa Morgan was close behind Flores in 71st place at 24:22.4. First-year Ripley Insalaco came in 134th at 25:28.5. Third-year Kylee Kresge came in 180th at 26:32.0 and third-year Riley Loughlin came in 207th at 27:22.7.
The Lady Hawks took ninth out of 28 teams, earning a total of 287 points with an average time of 23:56.2. For the Hawks, Cavanagh came in first, Williams came in second, and so on. Kresge and Loughlin did not place for the race.
New Paltz has never had more than one runner qualify for NCAA Nationals, but Williams, Whitworth and Cavanagh are heading to Kentucky next week to represent the Hawks. Cavanagh is the first Hawk in New Paltz cross country history to have multiple appearances at the Nationals race, and Whitworth is the first male to ever qualify.
“I’m so incredibly happy and grateful to be making a second appearance at Nationals. Since my freshman year at New Paltz, Nationals has been a huge goal of mine and to be able to do it twice is crazy exciting for me,” Cavanagh said. “I am even more honored to be representing New Paltz in this historic moment with a group of hardworking and extremely deserving teammates.”
Although the season may be over for the rest of the Hawks, Whitworth will compete at Tom Sawyer State Park on Nov. 23 in the 8K race at 10:45 a.m., followed by Cavanagh and Williams in the women’s 6K at 11:45 a.m.