Vermont Tech Men's and Women's Cross Country traveled to Amherst, MA on Saturday for the Yankee Small College Conference Championships held at Hampshire College. For Vermont Tech this was the first full Women's team to compete at a Conference Championship since at least 2000, as far back as current records go. Coach Dunkle was asked about this after the meet and his take on the direction Vermont Tech Women's sports are taking. " Yes, this is the first full women's team we have fielded at a Championship race since long before my time here in 2011. I think Vermont tech has become more supportive of athletics and hosting events here on campus to help with exposure to the great programs the college has to offer as well as our direction of making Vermont Tech a running center for Vermont and Northern New England." The Women's team did really well, placing 2nd overall behind Hampshire College. Our top 5 women (6t, 10, 14, 15, 16) actually finished in front of the Hampshire College top 5 Women, but Hampshire finished 1,2,3, 13, 18 which is hard to overcome. Vermont Tech Women were lead by Nicole Cutler in 6th ( All Conference ) who ran her first Collegiate race of her career. Coach Dunkle indicated :Nicole is a great person. She went out and gave it all she had and made a great addition to the team in both her performance just by being there." Following Nicole was team co-captain Masha Goodspeed (10), Emma Labadie (14), Olivia Machado (15), co-captain Jenna Jerome (16) and Sophie Provost (25). When asked about the team's performance, coach Dunkle stated "I am really impressed. We overcame a lot to be here with some of our runners sick and a few injuries that they chose to run through and make Vermont Tech History books." The season is not over for the Lady Knights though. In November the team heads to USCAA Nationals in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The Men also ran well. Despite our number 5 runner Michael Dunkle blacking out on the course, he completed the race which helped our team clinch a 3rd place finish overall in Conference. " That was a race I figured would be close, with our top 2 runners just 5 seconds apart, and 2 seconds ahead of the #4 runner from Paul Smith's. " said coach Dunkle. Our top 2 runners David Mattern and Tyler Dunham did exactly what they were expected to do in finishing 2nd and 3rd in the individual race (both All Conference) behind the front runner Andrew Shephard of NHTI. Tyler Dunham had the best race of his college season and really helped the team. Following Tyler were Matthew Kelly (15), Scott Durkee (23) and Michael Dunkle (26). Michael experienced a tough, tough race. At Mile 2 he bumped into a pole , apparetly due to tunnel vision. At the finish line he passed out and was out for quite some time. That last 2 miles of the 5 mile race Michael was in and out just trying to finish the race. I am proud of him as a coach and parent that he was able to have the determination to hang on and focus on the finish.
The course was very muddy and crossed several streams and marshy areas. It was not a fast race, it was a race of strength for both the Men and the Women. Vermont Tech had 3 runners make All Conference in this meet, Nicole Cutler, David Mattern, and Tyler Dunham.
The Men's cross country team is also headed to Nationals in November.