College athletes move on

Runners cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the start of the New York City Marathon, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in New York.
Associated Press / Jason DeCrow

While the New York City Marathon is the highlight event during the upcoming months going into the winter season, the sport of cross country is mid-way through the fall for both the high school and college athletes. In the collegiate ranks, the the runners are gearing up for their championship meets, which are contested at Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx and at CW Post College and Bethpage State Park in Long Island, for instance.

Last Saturday morning about 15 colleges mostly from the metropolitan New York area from Division II and Division III colleges as well as junior colleges entered representatives to Long Island University-Post College for its annual cross country meet on the grounds in Brookville, New York. Over some of the previous years, Post College had some outstanding runners on its team.

Now the Post athletic department would like one day to field the program that it once had.

One college which sent representatives to Post College was Pace University, more noted for its basketball program, and lists three campuses, including sites Manhattan and Pleasantville, upstate New York. Pace posted some decent times in last week’s meet.

While Sara DiGiovanna, a senior at Pace, finished fourth in their section of Division II and Division III and junior college athletes in the same race, Moriah Jno-Charles, only a freshman, became a bright spot with great potential, individually and as a team. Charles wound up eighth in their category with a time of 19:33.15.

She is the daughter of Cleve Jno-Charles who came from the island of Dominica in the Caribbean and according to her, ran on a team that competed only in high school.

“Sometimes he (my father would) give me some pointers in running, and to focus on the people who would be in front of me,” she added. “And don’t worry about time.”

Her personal best time was when she ran the above 19 minute clocking. She attends classes in Westchester County She began running when she was in the third grade. And she attends college in Pleasantville. She stays on campus.

She felt that college running is more difficult than running in high school.

“The workouts are a lot more serious now than it was when I went to high school.” she added.

She and her teammates are getting ready for the Northeast Conference championships where they hope to finish among the tops as a team and an individual.

Unfortunately, Pace does not field a course on campus and must practice elsewhere.

Most of the team members who competed in the Post College meet got a feel for the track atmosphere. For example, Post, New York Tech, Queens and Dominican will return for their league meets in October with the better teams and individuals striving to advance further and into the NCAA meets.

It’s nice to get the feel for the 5K race for females and 8K or five-miler for the men in separate events, when the members decide actually do it according to Vincent Vasquez, a member of the St. Thomas Aquinas team.

Then there was Vichinsky Elien, a senior at Dowling College. His father Serg Elien originally came from Haiti.

Vinchinsky, a resident of West Babylon, was clocked at 32:51.04 for 57 place in the standings.

During the meet on the previous week, over the 8K course, the harriers ran on a lot of hills at Van Cortlandt Park. On the other hand, there is only one main hill on the course at Post.

It’s huge difference mentally, because the runners keep doing the hills repeatedly. At Post, the course is much easier.

“Coming into the meet is a good preview to see what’s coming up,” Elien said.

“We are very satisfied with the meet and the turnout, but I hope it doesn’t get too big,” said Coach Pat Sleven, in his first complete year at CW Post. “The course is flat and fast,” said Sleven.

For Division I colleges, Fordham captured the men’s title with 15 points, and Molloy won the Division II and III team titles. Junior colleges were allowed to compete in this race with the senior colleges.

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