On Saturday, October 31 the Fredonia Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams laced up to race at the 2015 SUNYAC Cross Country Championships in Plattsburg, NY. It was the first time racing this course for all runners, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the results. The men’s second place finish in the 8K race is the highest any Fredonia Men’s Cross Country team has finished in almost twenty years, since 1998. The women’s forth place finish in their 6K race is the highest the team has finished in almost ten years. On top of that, three Blue Devils earned All-SUNYAC titles, and one earned a spot in the SUNYAC Cross Country Hall of Fame. I took a moment to sit down with the 2015 All-SUNYAC team members Kyle Collin, Collin Mulcahy, and Laura Morrison.
Julia Williamson: First of all, congrats on this past weekend! Everyone seemed like they had a pretty good race. For each of you individually what does it mean to be named to the All-SUNYAC team?
Laura Morrison: I was really happy with my results. I actually thought that I had placed ninth and then I heard someone say that I got sixth. So I was pretty excited to hear that. On top of that, to hear that I made the All-SUNYAC team was pretty exciting. It was another added bonus to a great race.
Kyle Collins: It’s a honor to be named to the All-SUNYAC team. There was a lot of competition and some great runners in the First All-SUNYAC team. I feel honored to be included with them.
Collin Mulcahy: I think for me it’s especially rewarding because I’m usually seen as a track guy, not really a cross country runner. I knew how good the men’s field was, so to finish in tenth place was huge for me. Not running cross country last year made me feel like I was behind coming into this season but tenth place was huge for me.
JW: For people like myself who don’t know a whole lot about cross country, what does it take to be named All-SUNYAC?
KC: First team is the top five finishers, and second team is the next five finishers.
JW: This is the highest any Fredonia Men’s Cross Country team has finished in the SUNYAC since 1998. What do you think is so different this season than the last three seasons that you’ve been on the team?
CM: We’ve gotten more serious and we’ve taken more chances this year than we have in the past. In previous years we would’ve been okay with going out there and finishing third. This year we set the bar higher at the beginning of the year. Ever since our first team meeting we set out to take second in the SUNYAC. Everyone knew that. It’s great knowing that even not on our best day that we could still finish in 2nd place.
JW: Laura, this is your first season of XC.
LM: Yeah. It’s a huge change. It’s a lot different from track but I definitely enjoy it. I think mentally for me it’s easier.
JW: How would you compare this All-SUNYAC title to the ones that you earned last year?
LM: I think it’s really exciting and it’s an awesome honor just because it’s my first season of cross country. I came into this season just hoping to gain some endurance for the 800 and possibly the mile if I decide to do that during the indoor season. To start the season not really knowing what to expect, then to make the All-SUNYAC team is exciting. I’m proud of myself!
JW: Kyle, in the Featured Athlete segment of our blog you mentioned that one of your goals for the season was to lead the men’s cross country team to a SUNYAC title. Having come in second only to nationally ranked Geneseo, how does this stack up to your goals?
KC: This comes close. I definitely wish that we had beaten Geneseo but, they’re ranked sixth in the nation for a reason. I’m happy with how we finished.
JW: In addition to your All-SUNYAC title you also earned a spot in the SUNYAC XC Hall of Fame. What does that mean to you?
KC: It was definitely a goal of mine at the beginning of the year. Last year at SUNYAC’s I had an embarrassing race. I finished in the top 30 but I knew I was much better than that. This year I wanted to show everyone that I am one of the top runners in the SUNYAC. To make the SUNYAC Hall of Fame is an honor, like being All-SUNYAC. There are so many amazing runners in The Hall of Fame and I’m happy to be in it too. It’s an honor.
JW: A few weeks ago you all broke the Fredonia Cross Country school records, for men in the 8K and for women in the 6k. Do you think that race better prepared you for SUNYAC’s or do you think it added more pressure?
KC: I think running at Oberlin gave us all a confidence boost. Oberlin is a very fast course. To see everyone run a personal best and run really fast was a confidence boost not only to myself but to everyone around us. We knew we could definitely accomplish our goals.
LM: I feel like it was a little bit of both. After running such great times at Oberlin there was another expectation to be met at SUNYAC’s. It set the bar high going into SUNYAC’s but it also gave us the confidence to know that we could perform at a high level at the championship meet.
CM: I think it helped us realise what we could accomplish. It showed everyone on the team that we could run fast. It mentally prepared us for SUNYAC’s. Everyone knew what they could run and what it took to run that fast. As runners we’d be lying if we said we didn’t want to PR every meet, but Plattsburg and Oberlin are two very different courses.
JW: Kyle and Collin, the record you broke was one of the oldest records in Fredonia track & field and Cross Country history, set by Bob Carroll in 1979. What does it mean to have your names be a part of Fredonia history?
KC: You look at those names from 1979 to1983, and those were amazing teams. They were nationally ranked runners. I couldn’t be more honored to be up there with such amazing runners.
CM: I never would have imagined being in the same category as some of those runners from the 70’s and 80’s. Knowing how great those teams were, it’s such an honor. I think it comes down to having a new mentality coming into this season. I had more confidence in myself.
JW: Laura, you also got the women’s 6k record which is pretty awesome for it being your first season of cross. Even though the record wasn’t set too long ago, by Kim Foltz who you were also on the team with, how does it feel to have your name on one more record?
LM: It makes me feel excited. Going into the season I looked at the records but I honestly didn’t imagine that I could come close to them. Coach Tom had other plans (laughs). I knew that Kim was a fantastic XC runner and I never dreamed that I would come close to her times so I’m honored to have run the time that I did.
JW: You’ve all had great success this season running amazing times and finishing well in the SUNYAC. What’s the icing on the cake? How do you finish this season off?
KC: The guys have talked about it, and it’s been one of our goals since the beginning of the year to make nationals as a team.
CM: The guys team bought into the idea of taking a shot at making nationals. That would be the ultimate icing on the cake. We are more than capable of it but everyone has to run A+ races. For me personally, I’d love to make the All-Region team and make it to nationals as an individual if we didn’t make it as a team.
LM: There’s been talk about the women’s team making it to nationals. The talent is there, if everyone runs their best race. If we don’t make it as a team it would be awesome to go individually. Either way, PR’s at regionals would be the ideal way to end the season.
JW: How do you prepare for that ideal finish?
KC: Mostly everyone right now is running lower mileage. We hit the bulk of our training sometime around Geneseo and we’ve been tapering from there. This is where we start working on our speed to get our legs moving for the final race, which will be a fast one.
CM: For the guys, it’s as simple as preparing for the next two weeks the same way we’ve been preparing for the whole season. It’s gotten us this far. Everyone knows what’s expected of them. We don’t need to change anything. We just have to put in two more weeks of solid training and mentally prepare ourselves. We have all of the tools that Coach has given us in training to be successful. The largest aspect of this race is just being mentally prepared.
LM: They pretty much covered it. This is the point in the season that drags a little bit since our bodies are starting to feel all the mileage that we’ve put in. We need to listen to our bodies and take care of ourselves so that we can be 100% at Regionals and run the best that we can.
JW: What are the team's goals for regionals?
CM: The guys want to be better than we were last year. We took 7th as a team at regionals which was our highest regional placing in a while. The low end of our goal as a team is finishing 7th, but I think we’ll be shooting for top 5 in the region. It’s not gonna be easy
KC: The main goal is finishing top 5 in the region. It’s going to take a lot but we’re willing to do it. Ever since my freshmen year, it’s always been about taking a chance. This is one of our last races of the year. If you don’t put it all out there then what the point?
JW: You’re all seniors. What’s one positive thing you will take away from your college career?
KC: For me, one thing that I can take away from this is what a great time it’s been. Meeting everyone has truly been an honor and a great time. I wouldn’t have been able to push without the help of my teammates. Everyone’s been a family to me.
KM: From my freshmen year to my senior year has been like night and day in regards to team comradery and how close we are as a team. One thing that I’ll take away from this year more than past years is how close the team is. We’ll always have the memories of what we accomplished this year, but the friendships and the bonds you make will last longer than just four years at Fredonia.
LM: Even though I transferred here, I think the biggest impact is the bond that the team has and how close we all are. I’m already looking forward to coming back as an alumni and being able to visit everyone. It’s been an awesome experience just being able to travel across New York with everyone and train with everyone. It’s crazy how close we’ve all become by having a common bond of running. I’m gonna miss it a lot.
The Blue Devils’ next competition is the NCAA Atlantic Regional Meet at Letchworth State Park. GOOD LUCK!