Saturday, August 31, 2013

SUNY Oneonta X-C (and Jack!) Open the Season

The Women's race--and the season--are off! (8/31/13)
Caveat: Apologies to all the student-athletes, most of whom were not name-checked below simply because it was my first chance to come to a meet. I look forward to following your success this year!

This afternoon my wife and I went to my son's first collegiate race for SUNY Oneonta Cross-Country. The teams were competing at an abbreviated distance (5k as opposed to the traditional collegiate distance of 8k) in what was in effect a pre-season invitational in Saratoga Springs, New York. Hosted by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute , the RPI Invitational consisted of a field of three Men's and Women's teams: RPI, SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Plattsburgh.

Men's team warm-up as women race. (8/31/13)

The Women's race went off first and, as often the case, it was difficult at the onset to determine just which team had won. One would think that the confusion was due to the fact that each of the three teams in attendance had red as one of their primary colors, it had more to do with cross-country's somewhat unique scoring system. Today's Women's team results reflect in part the team nature of what can perceptibly be an individual sport. The greatness of this particular team sport is that it rewards both individual and team success.

Oneonta coaches, including Head Coach Angelo to the left, wait for the
women's teams to emerge from the woods. (8/31/13)

Though it was clear while watching the finish that Plattsburgh had the two strongest individual women's performances, Oneonta's Women finished in a strong pack placing in fourth through eighth places. Despite ceding the top two positions to Plattsburgh, the team won the meet by staying tough and finishing way ahead of Plattsburgh's third, fourth and fifth runners. (Plattsburgh's fifth finished 33rd overall. This resulted in what would seem to the uninitiated to be an "easy" win with Oneonta winning by 19 point. 30-49. (In X-C the low score wins, based upon the point for each of the first five finishers.)

Much better traveling accommodations tan the yellow bus. (8/31/13)

Pre-race hydration and... dancing? (8/31/13)






Jack and his teammates turn the corner into the woods at just about the 2 mile mark. (8/31/13)

Oneonta's lead male finisher. (8/31/13)
By contrast, the Oneonta Men's team competition was a real squeaker. While RPI captured the first two positions, Oneonta had student-athletes place third, fourth and fifth (Jimmy Bernstein, Andrew Bohunicky, and Mike Didas, respectively). In the end, the key to Oneonta's 1 point margin of victory (31-32, remember, low score wins) was Oneonta's fifth place team finisher. Junior Charles Remillard placed an excellent tenth overall, while RPI's fifth runner came in a very respectable 16th.

Jack coming out of the woods and into the last 300-400 meters. (8/31/13)

My son Jack, as well as his fellow freshman recruits ran well today. Because the distance was shorter and the event was very likely used as a tempo workout by some coaches and athletes, today's final results are not necessarily indicative of what will happen over the course of the season of 8k races. Cross-Country (and especially high school Indoor Track and Field) is also unique in that every competitive event is not necessarily run "to win."


Jack and I following his race--and before his cool-down. (8/31/13)

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