The Red Storm Cross Country team’s season is coming to an end, but not without strides made by this years dedicated group of runners.
The Red Storm has run three races so far this fall season and have three more coming up to end their season. In their first three matches the results were mixed.
In the Brother John “Paddy” Doyle Meet of Champions the Red Storm finished 11th out of 16 total teams competing. For the Metropolitan Championships the team finished in fourth place out of nine teams. Their most recent race for the Big East Championships saw the Red Storm finish in ninth out of 10 total teams.
Stephanie Gerland is a senior from Garden City, New York finishing up her final year of collegiate cross country. Gerland is proud of the way she improved from her first season on the team and she is proud of the team that was assembled this year.
“I feel like it’s one of the best teams I’ve ever been on in my four years,” Gerland said. “A lot of people were injured last year Nicole [McCarthy] came back this year because she was injured. We have some new freshman and a transfer student; I’d say we were strong.”
Gerland’s most successful performance this season was at the Metropolitan Championships, held at Van Cortlant park where she finished in fifth place.
“That’s my favorite course because of the hills, I felt really strong during the race and I was able to finish strong.”
Gerland attributes this year’s team with keeping their minds at the task at hand and not thinking too far ahead. Gerland says this is largely in part because of Coach Hurt and his style of coaching.
“He is very motivational making sure we don’t get too caught up in it. Making sure we are relaxed and strong.”
Coach Jim Hurt has been the head coach of the cross country and track and field teams of St. John’s for the past 29 years with many successful seasons under his belt. This season was a step in the right direction after last season.
“We moved a spot in each of our conference championships and we got some new kids that have gotten used to running at the collegiate level,” Hurt said. “We haven’t put it all together yet from what practice indicates our practices have been sensational and our ladies have been working hard.”
Coach Hurt was happy with the improvement in placement of the Big East Championships event where the Red Storm was able to move into ninth place. In the same competition that last year saw the Red Storm finish in last place (tenth).
“We’ve made some good progress and hoping to put anything together the last two races of the season coming up.”
Hard work and a healthy group of runners were the main focus of the season. After a season of injuries last year and some more this year the team decided not to run in as many competitions as they did last year.
Coach Hurt credits the team this year of being hardworking and continuing to get better every week. With not as many competitions being run as last year it was important for the team to continue to stay fresh and be on top of their game and improvement was visible.
Finishing a spot higher in the Big East Championships isn’t a vast improvement but an improvement nonetheless. For a group of athletes that have struggled with health in this season as well, they will be looking to finish out the rest of this 2019 season strong.
The Red Storm’s next competition will be the NCAA Regional Championships in Buffalo, New York on Nov. 15.