On Saturday, Oct. 16, the men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to New London, Connecticut for the Connecticut College Invitational. It was the last meet in the regular season, and it was a difficult one.
Twenty six schools were there and ready to compete, including some foes New Paltz had previously faced this season. The competition included Williams College, MIT, Tufts, RPI, Vassar, Springfield, Union and just one other SUNY school: Oneonta.
Each team ran in two heats named blue and white. The men ran 4.9 miles while the women ran 3.7. The women’s white competed first and 135 athletes crossed the finish line. This heat saw only three Hawks representing, with two crossing the finish, first-year Ceren Cebeci and second-year Erin Downs. The two stuck together and came in right after the other, with Downs finishing with a time of 29:49.50 and Cebeci coming in at 30:04.90.
“With cross country, it’s definitely important to stay consistent with training, and running with teammates makes it a lot easier,” Downs said. “Being with teammates also makes us work harder. I think that Ceren and I running so close together pushed each of us to have the best race we could.”
The top three finishers were from the fierce Williams College, with first place Abigail Scott crossing at 23:19.30.
The men’s white heat went next which saw 207 athletes crossing the finish line. This time it was MIT who performed best, with seven of their athletes securing the top positions. New Paltz saw fourth-year Chris D’Antonio and second-year Jimmy Curley coming in 170th and 171st places, respectively. Graduate student Reed Williams also crossed the finish.
The women’s blue heat saw 196 more athletes competing. No individual school held the top finishing places this time as all athletes were putting in all their effort to score points for their team. New Paltz’s third-year Kate Cochran came in a truly impressive 42nd place with a time of 23:20.10. Behind her was fourth-year Clara Flores-Reininger in 52nd place with a time of 23:37.00. First-years Marcella Candlin and Jazmyne Daily-Simpson and second-year Ginny Clifford also finished for New Paltz.
To finish out the day, we had the men’s blue heat where 186 athletes ran. Fourth-year captain Jake Meyers came in 37th place with a time of 25:52.60, earning 37 points for New Paltz. Fourth-year Daniel Hotaling crossed in 80th place, earning 78 points for the men in orange and blue.
At the end of the day, the men finished in 17th place out of 26, and the women 19th. Not too bad considering all the competition. New Paltz held out better than their only other SUNY match, Oneonta.
“There was definitely tough competition at Connecticut,” Downs said. “I think overall we are happy with the results, we had a couple of people break their personal records. It was also a good way for everyone to mentally prepare for the championship meets which will have a lot of people and are very important.”
SUNYAC Championships will take place in Cortland on Saturday, Oct. 30.