The College of Staten Island men’s cross-country unit will be back on the course this weekend, this time is arguably its biggest moment of the year, when the team travels to Castile, NY, to take part in the NCAA Division III Men’s Cross-Country Regional Championship held at Letchworth State Park. The meet is hosted by SUNY-Geneseo and will welcome 43 of the area’s finest racing institutions.
For CSI, the squadron will look to build on a 37th-place finish a year ago, and according to Head Coach Robert Russo, the team is positioned nicely.
“I think the team has positioned themselves really well to improve on our finish from a year ago. They’ve had a profitable season with several meet wins and have proven that even late in the season, they can still turn out personal best times. A great example is Kenny Morella at the CUNY Championship running a season best of 30:08. Also, having Andrew back at full capacity will be a huge help in turning out a good team place,” said Russo. “I am confident that each of the athletes can produce another great individual time to end the season. Last year we had some great individual times but our team effort wasn’t as strong. We will be putting more of a focus on racing for placement with the goal of climbing the ranks within the region.”
Expected back for the Dolphins is sophomore Andrew Scharf, who missed last weekend’s ECAC Championship after recovering from illness that hindered him two weeks before at the CUNYAC Championship Meet as well. With a 100-percent Scharf and the continuous advancement from runners like Morella, Liam McMunn, Matthew Day, and surging senior Samuel Obisanya, CSI will be at full strength, and this time, according to the coach, they group will have experience on their side, something it lacked a year ago.
“Last year we competed at Regionals with a lot of rookies, and little experience in high caliber, competitive championship meets,” Russo said. This year the athletes have been much more competitive and we have changed our preparation for this year’s meet. We learn from our past performances and after last year, we knew that the nearly 3 week gap between CUNY Champs and Regionals was too long of a time off from racing. This year we added the ECAC to keep the momentum from CUNY’s going and the race mentality fresh.”
Over 370 runners are registered for the race, and the men’s contingent will go off at 12:30pm, after the women’s installment at 11:00am.
“Realistically, this men’s team is the most competitive group that I have coached overall. They have the potential to place well,” the skipper noted. “Compared to last year, if Andrew and Liam place closer to the top 100 finishers and our next three scorers, who have all placed very close throughout the season, can finish in the top 200, we’ll position ourselves for a top 30 team place. This would be a huge jump in ranking for us from last year and I would be very happy with that.” ?
For complete race details, visit the SUNY-Geneseo Event Page located HERE.