Saturday, Sept. 12 was a banner day for ESU’s cross country teams at the Fordham Ram Invite in Bronx, N.Y.
The women’s team finished in first place out of 14 teams, and the men’s team finished first out of 11 teams.
Junior Allison Decker and senior Steve Ruch swept the individual titles.
In addition to Decker, senior Chelsea Conover finished fifth overall, and sophomore Kaylyn West finished sixth overall among the women.
The men posted a 1-2-5 finish with Ruch in first, junior Alec Lederer in second, and junior Anthony Ruiz in fifth.
Ruiz said, “We’ve been running together (as a team) for every run. It’s not just a single person. We are running as a pack.”
Despite the team’s successful day, Ruiz said, “It could have gone better. In a race, you have to run as a team if you want to be successful.”
“At the 3K point, we were all together, but then we got separated,” continued Ruiz. “(Senior) Alex Zubko got a cramp (and finished in tenth place.)”
The team has been training hard during the offseason. The women have been running more than 150 miles a month, and the men have been running more than 200 miles a month.
Speaking of the women’s team, Ruiz said, “Allison Decker did very well. Sam Young did well. Kaylyn West really showed up this year. Chelsea Conover always does well. Caitlin Perry, too.”
Ruiz said, “In cross country, you need five good people at the top to get a win, and you want a sixth and seventh person just in case something happens.”
Ruiz said, “This was a pretty good start, but there is always room for improvement. It’s still early in the season.”
In addition to physical training, some nutritionists came in to talk to the team about eating healthy. Ruiz said, “Nothing crazy. We run and burn a lot of calories anyway.”
Ruiz is a political science and philosophy honors student who took part in a leadership retreat in Norway over the summer.
He said, “All the PASSHE students were there, and there was a lot of back-and-forth. We taught them something, and they taught us something.”
Ruiz added, “It was nice to work together with students from other schools for once since you always end up competing with each other.”
Another goal for the men’s cross country team is to have the highest team GPA among all sports teams at ESU.
Overall, Ruiz said, “Our goal is to make it to nationals. The top three teams at regionals make it to nationals, but the regionals are not until Nov. 7.”
The nationals will be held in Joplin, Mo. on Nov. 21.
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