Concord, NH - Both the men's and the women's cross country team competed at NHTI on Saturday at the Yankee Small College Conference Championship race.
The Vermont Tech women's team ran one of the strongest races of the season. The Women were led by freshman Cassidy Lewis who won her second race of the season and her first conference championship race. Cassidy finished her championship run in 25:13, 20 seconds in front of her closest competitor. Coach Dunkle stated, "Cassidy started off strong and dominated the race from the start. She had this look of determination that carried her through the last Mile of the race where 2 women from Hampshire college tried to move up on her. It was a nail biter but she handled it very well." Cassidy carries on a tradition started by Rebecca Broadbent of dominating and winning the conference races. VTC has enjoyed 4 championship winners on the women's team over the past 6 years. She is also the youngest VTC women to win a conference meet. Cassidy was not alone in this race though and the Women's team scored 2nd place overall for the team. This is the second year in a row that they have finished 2nd, this year by a really close 3 points. Coach Dunkle mused "Our women placed 5 runners in the top 10 spots, while Hampshire placed 5 women in the top 11, and we still took second place. It was that close. " Maria Potvin placed 5th overall ( 4th scoring) to earn an All-Conference award. Following Maria was Angela Lazzaro in 7th place scoring, Olivia Machado 8th place scoring , and Emma Sanders 9th place scoring. "Speaking of Olivia Machado", coach Dunkle added, " She ran the best race of her college career. Olivia was our 5th runner coming into the meet. She has previously run 32 minutes plus for a 6K race. I told her we needed her to run under 31 minutes and she ran a 30:06. What a run for her in her last conference race as a VTC Athlete. Olivia just ran her heart out and that made the difference between 2nd and 3rd place for the team. " It was really awesome to see Nicole Cutler compete as well. Nicole has been out with medical problems and we were not sure if she would be able to race. It was a real emotional boost to the team to have her here. Nicole finished her race in 16th place which is a great showing.
On the Mens side coach Dunkle said he was really surprised as the results were announced. "I thought the men might get 3rd team place and watching the race I thought we were likely to be 4th. It was a funky race from the start. Matt Stretton missed the start of the race and had to chase down the pack." Jon Puffer was not feeling well and so I thought it was going to be an individuals race. " But the men stepped up with a first ever first place finish by sophomore Tyler Dunham (29:28). " Tyler is the first VTC Men's team conference champion. He ran faster than he has run before and outpaced the favorites in a 40 second lead. From about the first mile it was all Tyler. I am really happy for him, he has trained very hard this year." Coach Dunkle also was impressed by Matt. "Getting back to Matt Stretton, he missed his start by almost a minute and chased down the pack to finish 3rd on the team in his PR time of 34:51 ( by almost 90 seconds ) and helped the team to a 2nd place finish overall. This is the best finish by a Mens VTC team in Conference that I am aware of." said coach Dunkle. It was a great example of team members stepping up to help team members who were struggling. After Tyler's first place finish, his team mates Matthew Kelly 13th ( 32:36), Kevin Kressock 20th ( 34:36 PR ), , Matt Stretton 24th ( 34:21 PR ), and Jon Puffer 31st ( 34:36) ran strong enough to give the men'e team a second place finish overall with 69 points .
The Knights travel to Virgina Beach for the USCAA National Chapmionships on November 8 to complete their season.