X-Country runs down the block

Senior Tyneka Greene dominated the field at St. John’s annual Fall Festival on Sunday at local Cunningham Park, setting a personal best in the 4K and leading the Red Storm to a successful defense of their training grounds, where the team finished
first overall.

The team captain – the Greene Machine, as she’s known to her teammates – got out to a fast start, and did not let up. Finishing in 13:53, she outpaced almost everyone else by over 30 seconds, giving a great kick at the end. Only freshman teammate Aryon Trujilio managed to stay within a half minute of her, finishing second overall with a time of 14:21.

The rest of the team fared very well in Tyneka’s wake, contributing to the 21 team points that clinched the event for St. John’s.

The next three Johnnies came in order: freshman Nicole Cocozza in fifth, sophomore Sarah Sudbury in sixth and junior Pamela Petruski in seventh. Finishing up the scoring times were senior Rakibat Abiola and junior Sarah Fry, crossing the line at 15th and 16th, respectively. Freshman Sabine Schneider, who finished second on the team and 10th overall at the 5K Metropolitan Championships last week, did not race due to Achilles tendonitis.

“We did exactly what we wanted to do,” head coach Jim Hurt said after the race. “We use this as part of our preparation for the Big East Championship, and that race goes out fast, so that’s what we did here in the shorter distance. We got out fast and got out front, and we hung on pretty good too.”

The day’s chilly weather elicited hooded sweatshirts, jackets, and snow hats from onlookers, but Hurt asserted that it was great running weather, and his runners more or less agreed: “It was freezing… but it was nice when you got into the sun.” Fry said. “You don’t want it too hot.”

“It actually wasn’t that bad, I just couldn’t feel my body, so I didn’t know if I was in pain or not,” Petruski added.

Upcoming is the Big East Championship, which take place on Oct. 31, and the weather is likely to only get colder. But Hurt is confident that his team will be ready.

“The program is progressing very dynamically,” he said. “We have the three very talented freshmen, we have Tyneka leading as a senior, and we have everyone else back too, giving us a real good group of true distance runners for the first time in awhile.”

“The team is improving every race,” assistant coach John Honerkamp said. “We did well our first time at Van Cortland, and it’s the toughest course in the country.”

Directly preceding the race was a mile-long ‘fun run’ in support of the fight against breast cancer.

Many local runners attended, including the entire St. John’s men’s soccer team, currently ranked fourth in the nation.