After opening the season with a fourth-place finish at last week’s Marist Invitational, the SUNY New Paltz Men’s Cross Country team captured the team title at Vassar’s Ron Stonitsch Invitational hosted by Vassar College on Saturday, placing first out of 11 teams.
The Hawks ended last season in eighth place out of 10 teams at the 2012 SUNYAC Cross Country Championships. Head Coach Mike Trunkes has high expectations for his team this season.
“Our main goal for this season is to practice for the SUNYAC,” Trunkes said. “The key to our success this season is to be smart throughout it. Keeping the team healthy and fresh, physically and mentally for key races is my priority. The Marist Invitational was more of a controlled workout than anything else. It is important to practice in some races and save all our energy for key races, like at Vassar.”
In order to prepare for the races, the Men’s Cross Country team has been putting in extra work, including a series of summer trainings to become more fit. Running about 70 miles a week, along with weight and interval training is what Trunkes believes will make the team better prepared for the season, along with leadership from fourth-year Rob Gorski and third-year Mike Scher.
Gorski led the show at Vassar, finishing in first place and breaking a course record with a time of 19:37:25. The invitational had a total of 103 participants. Finishing third was first-year Galo Vasquez and in eighth came fourth-year Dave Lukas, with times of 19:44:04 and 20:15:44, respectively, in the 6K race.
Vasquez trained hard to prepare for his first 6k, he said.
“I have never run a 6K before,” Vasquez said. “It’s a bit longer than the races I did in high school, which were 5K. But my teammates and I have been working hard at practice, and coach Trunkes encourages us to work as a team and give it our all.”
Gorski owed his victory to someone else, he said.
“Going into the race, I already told myself we were going to win,” Gorski said. “I will say though, that I dedicate my win to a friend of mine, Elizabeth Gorshack, who unfortunately passed away a year ago on the same day of the race. I know she was cheering me on that day.”
With this win on their backs, the Hawks will compete in the Oneonta Invitational this Saturday at 11 a.m.