Cross country running towards championships

By Ben Fields '15

Although they are often overshadowed by the prestige sports of football and soccer, the men’s and women’s cross country teams have quietly been having a great season. This past weekend, the teams travelled to SUNY Geneseo to compete in the Geneseo Invitational. Both teams placed in the top half of the competition, with the men taking ninth of 19, and the women placing fifth of 18.

In a highly competitive field featuring nationally ranked teams such as Geneseo and University of Rochester, the Continentals were pleased with their records. Captain Will Robertson ’14 said, “We’re quite happy with our performance…especially considering that we were able to knock off a few teams that had previously been ranked ahead of us.” Hamilton placed five runners in the top 100 of the 225-runner field for the men, while the women had eight in a 268-runner race.

This has been a breakout season for sophomore Adam Pfander, who has led the Continentals in each race thus far. Pfander placed third this past weekend with a time of 25:34.7, just 15 seconds behind the winner. This performance earned him conference honors, as he was selected as the NYSCTC Runner of the Week. Robertson described him as “a very pleasant surprise for us this year.” His race at Geneseo was over a minute and a half faster than his previous personal best. At the Hamilton Short Course Invitational earlier this season, Pfander posted the second fastest time in history on that course and won the meet. “It’s very exciting to have young talent like Pfander,” said Robertson, and “we’re excited to see what the rest of the season will bring for him.”

On the women’s side, Adrian Walsh ’16 has led the way for the Continentals. Walsh took third place at Geneseo with what is believed to be the fastest 6K in school history. She finished just 30 seconds behind the first place finisher, with a time of 22:18.1. Finishing out Hamilton’s top five were Hannah Kloeckner ’14, Captains Allie Gurney ’14 and Sarah Ohanesian ’14 and first-year Michelle Fish.

As a four-year letterman and team captain, Robertson has taken time this season to reflect on his career at Hamilton, noting, “the team has morphed a lot since I got here…there is a much stronger emphasis on team place now.” The team looks to take their team-first approach into their upcoming meets and the fast-approaching post-season. “We’ve had a very team-oriented mentality this year, which I think will help us in the rankings,” Robertson said. But looking close to home, the Continentals will be hosting their second meet of the year on Saturday.

The Hamilton Invitational, which will take place this Saturday morning on the golf course, is the Conts’ last meet of the season before heading into the championship season. Coming off of a strong performance at Geneseo, the team looks to round out its regular season with a solid home meet.

The team’s number two runner, Ben Yeo ’15, will return this meet after being out for two weeks with an injury. This significantly increases the chance for the Continentals to place well at their home meet. “We’re also looking forward to the home course advantage,” noted Robertson. “Our course is one of the toughest in the area, and we have a distinct edge because of our experience,” he added.

The Continentals are hopeful that this meet will put the spring in their step that they need to succeed in the championship season, as they look to place among the top five in the New York State Championships.

On a side note: Robertson noted that, “it’s the team’s annual ‘Beard-tober month.’” So if you see some scruffy looking runners, that’s why.


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