By Jay Bendlin
Four years ago, a young runner stepped onto the cross country course as a walk-on
looking to escape a rough environment at home and make a Division I team as a middle-
After years of hard work, that same runner is now a two-time conference champion.
Senior Hannah Reinhardt of Clarence, New York, became the fifth woman to win back-
to-back America East cross-country titles. She also became the fourth woman runner to win on her home course.
After breaking the tape in a course-record 16:45.74 for five kilometers, she shattered
the previous course record by 14 seconds and finished nearly 20 seconds faster than her race
two weeks ago at the R.K. Munsey UAlbany Invitational.
Her time is also the fourth fastest winning time in America East Championship history.
“An improvement of 20 seconds in two weeks is a good move in the right direction,”
said head coach Matt Jones.
Early on Saturday morning Jones gave Reinhardt one instruction: Have confidence.
Reinhardt admitted to sometimes forgetting to have confidence in herself, but not on
this championship day. Using the thought of putting on a show for all the fans in her last home
race, she powered through the course’s toughest challenges.
“That’s the most fans I’ve ever seen at a UAlbany cross country meet,” Reinhardt said
to the America East livestream. “I’m super thankful for everyone that came out. Having
everyone cheering made everything better.”
In two weeks, Reinhardt will compete in Buffalo, near her hometown, for a chance to
advance to the National Championships in late November.
Although the chances are looking good for Reinhardt to become the second Great Dane
to advance to the National Championships, Buffalo is constantly affected by the weather and
poses a danger to everyone’s chances. Excited to compete, Reinhardt is keeping a level-head
and approaching the race accordingly.
THE WOMEN’S TEAM
During the race, with New Hampshire close behind, Reinhardt pushed the pace early,
separating herself from the rest of the pack by the one-mile mark.
Following behind Reinhardt, the rest of the Great Danes’ women’s team powered
through for a fourth-place team finish. The women had all ten runners achieve seasonal best
times in the race. New Hampshire finished in first with 30 points.
THE MEN’S TEAM
The men finished in seventh place while their competitor Stony Brook finished first
with 22 points, placing all-five of its runners in the top seven. UMass Lowell’s Christopher
Alford demolished the previous course record by almost a minute with a 23:38.86 winning
Charlie Ragone was the top finisher for UAlbany, placing 21 st with a time of 24:47.11.
Three other Great Danes set personal-best times in the race.
UAlbany will head to Buffalo for the NCAA Northeast Regional XC Championships on
Friday, Nov. 15.