Thursday, May 30, 2024

Cardinals soar at SUNYACs, beat expectations

Sophomore Marissa Colvin (296) crushed her predicted finish for the women’s 6K, completing the race in thirteenth place at Fortin Park, Oneonta, New York, Oct. 28.

 

By Collin Bolebruch

The clouds have parted, sun shines on Plattsburgh and the Cardinals’ men’s cross country curse has been lifted.

“It was an unreal feeling,” junior Justin Kumrow said.

The team ran for its highest finish at the SUNYAC Championship, fifth out of 10 in the 8K, since 2011. That’s when Head Coach Jordyn Naylon still ran for Cortland.

For years, alumni have joked that the Cardinals’ inability to crack the top-5 came from a higher power. The team finished sixth last year, in Naylon’s first season, and seventh the year before.

The women’s team also improved from last year, going from sixth to fourth in the 6K this season.

Sophomore Marissa Colvin was expected to finish anywhere from 15th to 20th going into the race, according to Naylon. Colvin placed 13th, with a 23:24 time, securing a spot on the All-SUNYAC All-Conference Third Team. She placed 38th last season.

Colvin battled a knee injury and COVID-19 this season, both obstacles she’s navigated to have a career year. Through recovery and taking care of herself, she’s a better version of herself. The hard work showed in what she called “difficult.”

“I didn’t think I was going to be top 15 at all. I was slowing down,” Colvin said. “It was definitely a hard race, but it was worth it.”

Naylon has helped to create an intensely supportive, friendly and even silly environment among teammates and coaches since she was hired. And it leads to results.

On the women’s side, junior Sarah Smith finished 37th with a time of 25:16.3, sophomore Ginny Lucchetti 41st at 25:29.2, first-year Anya Sloth 44th at 25:40.2, first-year Kayla Grant 55th at 26:25.2, sophomore Jayelee Southwell 57th at 26:31.7 and first-year Lillian Moran 62nd at 26:52.2.

Senior Natalia Castro and first-year Julia Robinson also finished the race.

For the men’s team, junior Noah Bonesteel finished 22nd with a 26:38.8 time, Kumrow 30th at 26:59.4, sophomore Erik Kucera 31st at 27:00.7, senior Jeremy Gundrum 35th at 27:13.0, first-year Graham Richard 60th at 38:44.2, junior Michael Brockway 63rd at 28:56.4 and first-year Zander Brown 66th at 29:07.5.

Junior Evan Howe, first-year Nathan Alexander, junior Sean Grady, sophomore Lukas McIntosh and junior Peter Basile all finished.

Provided by Francesca Frasco

(From left to right) Zander Brown, Graham Richard and Peter Basile speak, while holding and supporting each other after the men’s 8K at Fortin Park, Oneonta, New York Oct. 28

 

Bonesteel went home with the SUNYAC Elite 20 award, recognizing student-athletes in high standing both on and off the trail.

Kumrow, Kucera and Gundrum, the “middle guys,” put the pedal to the metal this season. With Brockway and senior Logan Van Buren unavailable at multiple points, the group has had to step up.

“The three of us definitely took it very seriously,” Kumrow said. “Every meet, we work together and really push each other.”

The finishes are promising for the team’s future. Richard and Brown have been serious contributors as rookie runners and Gundrum is the only runner from the SUNYAC competitors not returning. There were no seniors in the women’s group. Naylon likes what it says about what’s to come.

“They’re really excited for each other,” Naylon said. “We have that really good mindset of just supporting each other, which is what I very much enjoy as a coach.”

Plattsburgh will next look to build off its success in the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Championships in Westfield State in Westfield, Massachusetts, Saturday, Nov. 11.

 

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