Cross Country set to host annual invitational

During the buildup to this year’s rendition of the Oswego State Invitational for cross country on Sept. 15, both Lakers cross country squads have proven themselves capable of impressive showings.

Both men’s and women’s cross country, under first year head coach Evan Magnussen, have mirrored each other’s schedules through this season’s first two meets.

At the SUNY Poly Wildcat Invitational and the Hamilton College Invitational, both teams have attained desirable results.

For the early part of the season, Magnussen and his teams have prioritized reaching goals they set for themselves and maintaining their health rather than winning the meets.

The men’s squad has ran their way to a second and fourth place finish behind the performance of star junior Dylan McCarthy and other key team members such as Colin Greenseich and Nick LeClair.

McCarthy gathered points in both meets for the Lakers, finishing second at SUNY Poly and sixth in the 5K at Hamilton College.

The Liverpool native is no stranger to success in a Laker uniform, having received Second Team SUNYAC All-Conference honors for the 2016 season and holding the Oswego State school record in the 8K with a time of 25:28.2.

With times of 19:39 and 15:40 so far this season, McCarthy has been the Lakers’ top finisher in both races, but high finishes are not his goal at this point in the season.

“We really have been just trying to use benchmarks to stay in the right range to get where we need to be,” Magnussen said. “Whether you run 5:30 for the first mile or 5:20, that’s good to know when we change our race plan later in the season.”

“Really what we’re just trying to do is build up that pack mentality and keep our top-five all together so we have a strong pack and can have a bit of intimidation going into the postseason,” McCarthy said.

When it comes to McCarthy, the key to maintaining his high level of success can be attributed to something very simple: The team.

“I just try to do the best that I can do every week, and if I happen to be first or second, or even fifth, then as long as we do good as a team it doesn’t really matter to me,” McCarthy said.

In terms of expectations toward winning their lone home meet this season, the team cares more about sticking to their plan than going above and beyond to place at the top of the standings.

“I would expect the men this weekend to stay about the same as where they were in that second or third range,” Magnussen said. “I expect the race this weekend to be more competitive.”

“Whether we’re competing with the top guys or not, there’s always something out there we can compete with,” Magnussen said.

On the women’s side, the Lakers started the season with a third place finish, but faltered last weekend sliding to an eighth place finish at Hamilton College, which still garnered praise from Magnussen.

“SUNY Poly was a much less competitive field than Hamilton so I wasn’t actually disappointed with that finish at all given that our top runner was out due to injury reasons,” Magnussen said. “The face that we were five positions back actually made a lot of sense.”

It is unknown whether the top runner Magnussen was referring to, Kayla Wheeler, will be out again this weekend.

Since there is a strong field this weekend, including perennial powerhouse SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College, among others, Magnussen preached for more of the same from his women’s team.

Both teams this will look to continue their success in the early part of the season en route to the SUNYAC and regional meets at the end of the season.

Photo: Ryan Zalduondo | The Oswegonian