This past Saturday, Nov. 13, marked the biggest day for SUNY New Paltz Men’s and Women’s Cross Country programs, as the teams traveled to Waterford, Connecticut, to compete at the 2021 NCAA DIII Mideast Regional Cross Country Championships at the Harkness Park course.
The men’s team placed 14th out of 26 in the 8000m Championship, while the women’s team placed 17 out of 24 in the 6000m, with each team finishing their fall season with one last hope for a personal best.
According to Harrier Race Management, compared to the other 26 programs, SUNY New Paltz Men’s Cross Country Program scored 397 points, averaged a top seven time of 28:40 and a top seven spread of 4:28, securing them between Clarkson University, who placed 13th with 392 points and 15th place SUNYAC rival Plattsburg who scored 402 points.
“We are in a very competitive region and our team is in a build up year,” said Hawks Head Coach Aislinn Ryan in a post-game interview to Payton Malloy Ellison, fourth-year journalism student and sports director for WFNP. “However, the men’s team should be especially proud for placing equal to their best place in any region we have competed in the history of the program.”
In a 33rd place finish with an overall time of 26:06, fourth-year Jake Meyers had a huge opportunity to earn an at-large bid to represent SUNY New Paltz in the NCAA DIII Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Qualifiers, but, sadly, he was not selected for the individual qualifiers, which was announced on Sunday, Nov. 14.
“Not only did Jake take the lead of the team this year with Matt Whitworth and Jack Wilson graduating, he was voted our team captain, improved his times by over a minute, worked and took graduate level courses, as well as continuing to push through a pandemic,” Ryan said of Meyers’ success. “Jake should be proud of his season this year.”
Following the captain, fourth-year Trey Hotaling finished next for SUNY New Paltz in 60th place, with a time of 27:19.6, and graduate student Colin Battersby (27:26.3) completed his collegiate career with a 65th place finish. Chris D’Antonio (29:36.5) produced his best time of the season, placing 121st to complete the scoring five for the Hawks. Both first-year Luke Hoyt (30:16.5) and second-year Jimmy Curley (30:34.2) placed 133rd and 135th to the close out their successful season.
The women’s cross country team scored a total of 482, and an average top seven time of 26:21. The competition was tough because the Hawks placed just seven away from last place.
Even though the program did not do well at the Regional Championship, that does not mean that the individuals did not have success. Fourth-year Clara Flores-Reininger led the women with a 44th place result, finishing the race with a time of 23:43.8, while Kate Cochran was right on her tail, finishing 13 seconds later for a time of 23:56.8 and securing 51st place.
First-year Marcella Candlin had a strong finish, within three seconds of her personal best at Harkness Park course, to win 98th place. Rounding out the scoring five, both first-years Allison English (26:43.3) and Emily Gonzalez (27:57.7) set new collegiate-career bests, with English finishing 49.1 seconds faster than her Mike Woods Invitational time, and placed 143rd and 160th, respectively. Second-year Ginny Clifford (28:05.3) and first-year Jazmyne Daily-Simpson (28:52.9) completed their seasons with a solid performance, finishing in 162nd and 164th place.