For the first time since Nov. 16 2019, your New Paltz men’s and women’s cross country team competed in a meet.
On Wednesday, Sept. 1, in the midst of the pouring rain of Hurricane Ida, the Hawks traveled to Poughkeepsie for the Vassar season starter. Both teams were prepared to face three schools: Vassar, Union and Bard. The men’s team ran a 4k and the women’s ran a 3k.
For the men, Vassar had a solid start with five guys leading the pack, but New Paltz’s fourth-year captain Jake Meyers stayed right on them. In the end, Meyers completed the run in 13 minutes and twenty-three seconds, only a few seconds behind the Vassar leaders.
Two more Brewers came in after Meyers, but yet another New Paltz senior broke them up. Daniel Hotaling came in ninth overall with a time of 13:28.7 New Paltz grad Colin Battersby also contributed, coming in 14th place overall with a time of 13:43.7.
Meyers said the season opener was very exciting and he was glad to have the support of his teammates and coach to take charge and lead the men’s cross country team.
“Despite being under the harsh conditions of the hurricane, we were proud to wear our uniforms once again,” Meyers said. “I was proud of our freshmen who were representing us for the first time and our upperclassmen who stepped up.”
Meyers also added they are a young team with many new faces joining the family.
Collectively, both New Paltz teams came in second place with 56 points, crushing Union and Bard who earned 67 and 120 points, respectively.
“I placed sixth behind Vassar’s top guys and I know I went out pretty strong and could have paced a bit wiser,” Meyers said. “But as I said, a good start to the season. As we increase the intensity at practices and fight hard in upcoming meets we are going to see real progression and grit coming from the team. We look forward to showcasing this as we continue to build our fitness.”
For the women, the Vassar runners were a dominant force as well, but New Paltz fought hard and two Lady Hawks ended up in the top five. Third-year Kate Cochran came in second with a time of 11:45.5 and fourth-year Clara Flores-Reininger came in fourth with a time of 11:54.1.
Those weren’t the only impressive performances of the day, though. First-year Marcella Candlin also placed third for New Paltz and seventh overall with a time of 12:10.6. Second-year Ginny Clifford placed fourth for New Paltz and 16th overall with a time of 12:43.7
In the end, the women’s team also placed second with an overall score of 46 points. Vassar finished first with 26, Union finished third with a final score 68 followed by fourth place Bard with 102 points.
For two teams that haven’t been seen in action since 2019, two second place victories are definitely something to be proud of.
Both teams are traveling right back to Poughkeepsie on Sept. 11 for the Vassar College Ron Stonitsch Invitational. The men kick it off first at 10 a.m., then at 10:45 a.m. the women will take their turn.
“With the men and women’s teams both placing second, right behind strong competition from Vassar college, it showed nothing but a great start to kick off the season,” Meyers said. “We are stronger together and we are ready.”