New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Men’s and women’s cross country teams to race in national meet

The Violets look forward to the NCAA Championship race following runner-up finishes at NCAA Niagara Regionals.
Ethan Rendon
NYU’s women’s cross country team practices at Central Park. (Ethan Rendon for WSN)

This past Saturday, the Violets raced in upstate New York and finished second in NCAA Niagara Regionals behind SUNY Geneseo.

For the first time in a decade, both NYU’s men’s and women’s cross country teams are going to “The Big Dance” — the NCAA Championship race on Nov. 18 in Newville, Pennsylvania with the men ranking No. 28 and the women No. 1 in the nation.

Although NYU’s top-ranking women’s cross country team didn’t smash any personal records or a race. Instead, the Violets waltzed into the national championship with a choreographed second-place finish in the 6K race with 53 points, a whole 33 points behind the first place finisher SUNY Geneseo who is the fourth-ranked nationally. 

Head coach Tyler Shipley said the second-place finish was a strategic maneuver to put the team in the best position for nationals next week.

The first three runners to the line closed within milliseconds of each other. First-year Morgan Uhlhorn, Ph.D. student Grace Richardson and sophomore Viv Kane all ran a time of 21:47 and placed sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. 

Richardson, who is usually the lead stick for NYU, said it was fun to try a different race strategy.

“I usually tend to go out hard, but we were very lucky to be in a position this year where we could hold back a little bit,” Richardson said. “This also allowed us to take in the atmosphere and enjoy it.” 

Just a second behind them, graduate student Kate Cochran finished ninth. The last scoring Violet was first-year Olivia Jackson who clocked 22:28 and finished 23rd.

Despite finishing behind her teammates, Jackson is grateful for the experience at her first tryout at the regionals. Jackson said it was incredible to be given the opportunity to compete at the new level of racing.

For the first time since 2013, the women’s team will compete in consecutive national meets. The Violets look to more than improve on their 26th-place finish from 2022.

“The team has a lot more confidence going into nationals this year than last year,” Richardson said. “Last year, we were kind of just happy to be there. This year, we are ready to not only participate but be competitive.”

The men’s team finished 16 points short of the regional champion SUNY Geneseo. Although the men’s team was not able to pose a challenge to the reigning champion, the team is on a upward trajectory as more than four runners broke their personal records at the regionals.

In total, the men’s team scored 57 points in the 8K race. Junior Ryan Tobin — the fastest among the Violets — cruised to second place with a 24:20, a nearly 25-second faster personal record. Tobin, who has made the two national meets individually, said it was the best feeling to finish and see his teammates close behind. 

Behind Tobin were two sophomores Jeffrey Chen and Andrew Taylor in third and seventh place. Chen ran a time of 24:26, which beat his last personal record by 25 seconds. Taylor shaved nearly a minute off his record with a  24:38. Looking to build off a 67th place finish in the regional meet last year, Chen was excited to tackle the challenge of the regional meet.

“The theme of the week heading into the meet was confidence,” Chen said.

To achieve their personal records, runners not only had to overcome physical challenges but also fend off runners from opposing teams. Taylor said opposing runners attempted to get into the heads of the Violets and during the race shoved, one-stepped and clipped him.

Despite not finishing in the top ten, Senior Jon Diaz had a noteworthy performance at the regionals.  George Brady has recently recovered from a stress fracture and had only a month’s worth of training under his belt. Brady managed to surmount the challenges to a 14th place finish in a time of 24:53. 

About three-quarters into the race, Brady was seriously struggling to cope with the pain. He eventually prevailed and scored invaluable points for the team. Several teammates described Brady’s “Hail Mary” effort as gutsy and said that Brady’s effort was crucial to help the team reach the threshold for the nationals. 

Diaz, whose nickname is “postseason Jon” delivered another clutch postseason performance placing 31st with 25:34 and nearly set a 25-second personal record. The veteran Violet who is NYU’s star 800m runner had the race of his life in 10 times the distance and credited grit. 

“I believe these races are defined more by the mental strength of performers who toe the line,” said Diaz.

If you want to go cheer on the Violets in the NCAA Championship race you can sign up to join a NYU-community-only spectator bus to the meet on Nov. 18 in Newville, Pennsylvania.

Contact Ethan Rendon at [email protected].

Leave a comment

Comments (0)

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *