The Men’s Cross Country team finished seventh out of 20 teams at the 8k-Geneseo Invitational on Oct. 5. SUNY Geneseo finished in first place.
Head Coach Mike Trunkes said he was pleased with how his team performed.
“We had solid race efforts one through seven,” Trunkes said. “I think they’re a top 10 regional team based on their performance on Saturday (Oct. 5).”
The depth of the Hawks’ top seven runners was the key to the team’s success, Trunkes said. The team had their top seven runners place in the top 105 of the 205-person field at the Geneseo Invitational, with fourth-year Dave Lukas finishing first for the Hawks and 30th overall with a time of 26 minutes and 23.9 seconds.
Since the Hawks have depth, they are able to run in a “pack,” Trunkes said.
“It’s always good to have people around you that you’re familiar with, and familiar with how they run,” Trunkes said. “When you race against other people that you’re not familiar with, you’re really not sure how those people race.”
First-year Galo Vasquez said running with his teammates during the races allows the Hawks to motivate one another.
“It’s really cool running with everyone else and pushing each other,” Vasquez said.
Fourth-year captain Rob Gorski said this year’s team is very dedicated, which should be very helpful later in the season.
“I can just tell that the people are putting the work in this year and by the end of the year we should be able to compete with the top teams,” Gorski said.
The team has been running barefoot in practice, which Vasquez said has been beneficial.
“It helps a lot with form, so you run well and don’t get injured,” Vasquez said.
Going forward, Gorski said he wants to improve on his leadership skills.
“I just want to be a better captain, a better communicator with the rest of my team,” Gorski said. “Provide a good example and show how things in the future should be run, too.”
After having a lot of success as a first-year runner, Vasquez said he is becoming competitive with first-year runners from other schools that he will be competing with for four years.
“I set up a mini rivalry with one of the Vassar freshmen, he’s doing really well too,” Vasquez said. “Me and him kind of acknowledge each other as the two guys who are going to be racing all the time, so I want to beat him.”
Gorski said he has high expectations for the team the remainder of the season.
“I expect us to compete in the top five of SUNYACs and become top 10 in the region,” Gorski said.
Trunkes said he wants his team to continue to do the small things that don’t involve running, which help the team while they are running.
“(I want them to make sure they’re) getting enough rest, making sure they’re hydrated, making sure they’re eating, staying on top of the range of motion work,” Trunkes said. “Those are the things where they can make the biggest gains. They’re doing the work, that’s never the question. It’s now are they doing the little things that are really big things?”
Looking forward to this weekend’s Connecticut College Invitational, which is the Hawk’s last non-championship race of the season, Trunkes said the team may approach this race in a different way than other races to ensure they’re fit for the remainder of the season.
“We may be a little conservative in that race, so that we’re ready to go at SUNYACs and certainly for regionals,” Trunkes said.