Women’s Cross Country Runs On Success

Women’s Cross Country Co-Captains Joanna Goldfarb and Danielle Harmon have been leading their team to success this season, highlighted by strong finishes at their matches.

The team has not finished lower than second place in any of the invitationals they ran this season, and will be running in the SUNYAC Championships later this month.

Photo courtesy of Brian Savard

“We are getting talented runners who really love the sport. We have increased our miles and improved training methods. Most importantly, the team is incredibly dedicated, and work hard all year round,” Goldfarb said.

Harmon agreed with Goldfarb, citing the team’s closeness as a reason for their success.

“We always have the idea of a team in mind. In cross country, it is important to work hard both individually and as a team. Whether it is at practice, a meet or just around campus, we always encourage each other and help each other out,” Harmon said.

As for Goldfarb and Harmon personally, the two runners hope to further their success and help the team compete. Harmon said that the next few weeks are “critical” to the success of the team.

“We must all work together as a team and put in the effort so that we can be successful,” Harmon said.

Goldfarb said that the team will be training hard for the upcoming championship races. According to Goldfarb, the team will be tapering their training, and will cut down on the miles they run and instead focus on working on leg speed.

Both Goldfarb and Harmon said they were “relatively new” to the sport, and both started running cross country when they first came to SUNY New Paltz. However, they believe that running cross country is perfect for them.

“Being a very competitive person, I think that cross country is great for me. In this sport you have to want it more than others to achieve your goals. Harmon said.  “I am also a very determined person and in Cross Country it is important to stay determined and keep fighting even if there are some rough patches along the way.”

Harmon, a fourth-year elementary education major with a concentration in math, was approached by her coach in her senior year of high school and he suggested she run cross country in college.

“I am very glad he made that suggestion because I ended up loving it. It is a very challenging sport and that is what I love about it,” Harmon said.

Harmon is the current school record holder in both 5k and 6k cross country, and Cross Country Head Coach Mike Trunkes believes she “sets the bar” for the team to reach.

Photo courtesy of Brian Savard

“Danielle’s commitment to the team has been unwavering all four years.  Her drive to and desire to be the best is unmatched,” Trunkes said.

Goldfarb, a fourth-year English major, believes her success was due to something much simpler.

“Over the years, I have learned how to be awesome in all parts of life,” Goldfarb said.

Trunkes said that Goldfarb is a quiet leader, who works well behind the scenes.

“She…has a way of keeping things light and even keeled,” he said.

Trunkes said that both girls have exhibited leadership qualities throughout their term on the Cross Country team, which lead to them becoming team captains.

According to Trunkes, both girls are highly motivated and dedicated to cross country, and serve as role models to the younger players on the team.

“Danielle is a fierce competitor and can be very emotional.  Joanna is solid and unwavering in her temperament.  She is very methodical,” Trunkes said.

But neither of their success came without some challenges.

“Sometimes with cross country you can be in the best shape of your life, but not be there mentally. Cross Country is a very mental sport and sometimes I’ve struggled with keeping my thoughts positive, which makes it very hard to do well,” Harmon said. “If I don’t think that I am going to be successful then I won’t. I’ve struggled with these thoughts before, however I am more than focused on being mentally strong this season.”

Goldfarb said that she faced the same struggles any student athlete faces – balancing the sport with academics and other extra curricular activities.

“Figuring out ways to balance classes, practice and working is always difficult,” Goldfarb said. “Going for a 12 or 13 mile run on Sunday, finishing any homework that needs to be done and then knowing you have to get up for class on Monday is usually not fun.”

The Cross Country team will continue their season over the next two months, and will eventually compete in the SUNYAC Championships, and Goldfarb and Harmon will lead them along the way.

“It is also important to make sure that everyone stays healthy and gets enough rest before the next big upcoming meets. As a team, we must keep pushing to achieve our goals,” Harmon said.