The IC4A Coaches Race on Nov. 17 was the last event for the cross country program on the season, as the women’s side placed four competitors in the top-10, while the men placed two in the top-20.
The race was held at Van Cortlandt Park in New York, a site that the Pirates travel to at least two times a year. Although the team has the experience for the path, snow caused a restructuring of the race.
According to Jarod Moser, the changing of the race took emphasis off running the hills, switching it from a toughness race to a speed race.
“It was a little unexpected, but we did what we could do,” Moser said. “I think we got a good performance overall. Running through the snow is a little tough but it was fun.”
Moser was one of the participants on the men’s team to place in the top-20, as he placed fourth overall with a time of 24:21 in the 4.97 mile race. His motivation during the race was to remind himself that it would be the final cross country event in his Seton Hall career.
“It was emotional getting onto the line for the last time,” Moser said. “It is something I have had experience with since seventh grade, being on multiple different teams, being with the same guys every single day, so it was a bit emotional for me. I was just looking straight ahead and thinking, ‘Wow this is actually happening after four years in college, this is the last race’. During the race it was, ‘Go out with a bang, do not have any regrets, and just try my hardest.’”
On the other side of the spectrum, Emma Newgarden, who finished third overall for the women, was a freshman looking to return to form in the last event of her first-year campaign.
“For me, I felt really nice because I have not been feeling well for a long time. I had been sick and hurt my knee,” Newgarden said. “It was nice to end on a note feeling like myself again. I felt like I had finally ran I normally expect myself, because the last few meets I had not been doing as well.”
The changing of the course also played a part in assisting Newgarden in achieving her results by putting herself into a different mindset. “It took pressure off because I knew the times would be different, so I wasn’t so worried about improving on past times on that course,” Newgarden said. “I was just worried about doing the best for my team, and I think that is how all of us felt.”
With the season over, Moser and Newgarden see ways the programs can improve.
For Newgarden, she feels the team should learn how to become less tired down the stretch of the season with the way it trains. Meanwhile, Moser, looking a team full of younger runners, thinks it is important for the freshmen to cope with the uptick in miles that they will run during the year.
Yet for Moser, as an exiting member of the team, what he will take away most from his four years as a Pirate is what he learned from his head coach, John Moon.
“Honestly for me, Coach Moon is a father figure,” Moser said. “I remember my freshman or sophomore year, I was about the eighth man on the team. I was coming in top in the workouts but it just was not happening in the races. He just kept telling me, ‘You are not believing in yourself’. I was like, ‘what does he mean?’ Then one race I got first and that was all I needed.”
“It was the confidence. Coach Moon was right, you just need to believe in yourself. For him he teaches us more than running, its life lessons. He is always telling us stories. It is really values I will take for the rest of my life.”
Robert Fallo can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @robert_fallo.