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Cross country makes a run for regionals

by Shelby Toth
Tue, Oct 31st 2017 10:00 pm
The senior class of the Brockport men's cross country team (above) led the line at the Yellowjacket Invitational. The team has shone through all four of its meets this season. The Golden Eagles have yet to fall below a top-four finish in all competitions this year.
The senior class of the Brockport men's cross country team (above) led the line at the Yellowjacket Invitational. The team has shone through all four of its meets this season. The Golden Eagles have yet to fall below a top-four finish in all competitions this year.

The College at Brockport women’s and men’s cross country teams competed at the SUNYAC Championship in Potsdam, New York, on Saturday, Oct. 28. The women finished seventh overall, while the men finished fourth.

For the women, junior Krista Kicsak lead in 31st, with a time of 24:42.6. Not far behind her was junior Lauren Bates, finishing  40th with a time of 25:17.2. After that, and all finishing in the top 50, were freshmen Katherine Adams and Makenna Bleier and junior Alyssa Soethout.

As for the men, freshman Andrew Davis lead in 15th with a time of 27:41.4. Two other runners, sophomore Sean Kuehn and junior Dylan Brickner, finished in the top 25, placing 20th and 23rd respectively. Senior Stefen Davis and junior Joseph Northup rounded out the Brockport top 5, both finishing in the top 40 overall.

The races themselves proved to be difficult, and both the men and women suffered a loss mid-run. According to Head Coach Danielle Novara, the team’s fourth man fell and injured his ankle, forcing him to drop out, and the second woman also fell, forcing her to drop out. 

The team itself, as The Stylus reported before, is primarily made up of younger runners this season. This, though, allows room for development in all aspects.

“We had a super young team and we still have a lot of work to do,” sophomore Ellie Pauly said. “But as they gained racing experience we became closer as a team and things started to fall into place.”

This growth has lead the cross country teams to new levels this year. While the women remained in seventh at the SUNYAC Championship when compared to last year. The men improved from eighth to fourth, a large leap to take in one year. Pauly sees this major improvement as a potential showing of the seasons to come.

“Coach Novara is developing a program to succeed in the long run,” Pauly said. “It’s just a matter of if we athletes are willing to put in the work to get where we want to be.”

Lone senior on the women’s team Lauren Bates also spoke for how the coaching staff has the potential to shape great runners.

“I am very excited for the future of the program because we have a very supportive and knowledgeable coaching staff and many young leaders with a lot of talent on the team,” Bates said. 

Bates also spoke for the future of this season, as the men and women gear up to take on the NCAA Regional competition, where the top seven runners from both teams will compete.

“We ran very hard at SUNYACs, but I don’t think we have reached our full potential as a team yet,” Bates said. “I think Regionals is going to be our breakout race when the hard work and awesome culture we have finally pays off.”

Race culture is, in fact, a whole world in and of itself. Team races create an environment of cheering teammates on, as often times a majority of a meet is spent watching fellow racers compete rather than the athletes racing themselves. 

The bond this creates is a powerful one, one that many on the ross country teams can attest to. Many team members drove a nine hour round trip not to race but solely to watch the teammates they’ve competed with over the season complete their races. 

Pauly was one of these team members. Her happiness when talking about supporting her fellow runners was evident.

“It’s so worth it to see your teammates give all they have and succeed in competition,” Pauly said. “We’re together all the time, we train together and we race together. It would’ve felt wrong not being there for them during a championship race.”

The strong team atmosphere will no doubt be present for the racers competing in the upcoming regional race. Regionals will be held in Houghton on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 12:15 p.m. If any Golden Eagles qualify, they will head to Elsah, Illinois, where it won’t be a surprise to see a small green and gold army next to the course, ready to cheer them on.

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