Speeding To The Finish Line

In the midst of their non-traditional spring season, SUNY New Paltz’s Men and Women’s Cross Country teams have been training to ensure success come the 2012 fall season.

With an overall 18-week limit for yearly training — mandated by the NCAA — the cross country teams break their schedules up into the fall and spring. Their traditional fall season entails a 12-week long schedule, whereas the non-traditional spring consists of a total of six weeks.

With no official practice regiment over winter break, Head Coach Michael Trunkes said runners are encouraged to keep training on their own time and maintain motivation despite the huge blocks of unscheduled time.

“The spring can be a hit or a miss,” Trunkes said. “It’s generally less intense because we aren’t in varsity mode. But we still train hard in the spring so we can be competitive in the fall.”

The purpose of the spring season, he said, is to invoke self-improvement within each runner. The team typically works together as a whole, with group workouts and practices. However, the spring gives each member a chance to step back and “focus on the individual,” Trunkes said.

Without the added pressure of performing solely to score points, this spring turned out to be particularly rewarding for the runners, he said.

The 2012 non-traditional spring season encompassed three competitive track meets: the Vassar Invitational on April 14, the Dick Shea Open held at West Point and the upcoming Capitol District Classic on April 28. The meet at West Point, according to Trunkes, turned out to be  impressive.

Finishing first for the women was third-year Captain Nichole Wischoff, clocking in at 17:54. Second-year Amanda Wolfer finished fifth with 18:38.

“When I first came here to coach five years ago, we didn’t have anyone breaking 20 minutes,” Trunkes said. “Now I’m seeing runners like Amanda with a 22 second improvement, and it really raises the bar for everybody.”

The Cross Country teams’ last meet is the Capitol District Classic at RPI on April 28.