Hernandez Strives to Defend His Cross Country Honor

Photo courtesy of Ramapo Athletics

Junior Jeremy Hernandez continued his remarkable 2016 season as he competed at the 2016 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 19.

The back-to-back NJAC champion in the 8K finished 91st overall out of over 275 runners in the competition.

This was Hernandez’s third appearance overall at the national level. As a sophomore last season, he earned All-American honors for the indoor season when he finished in eighth place in the 800-meter race. He earned another All-American honor last spring when he finished in third place in the outdoor 800-meter.

This season’s 91st-place finish put him just shy of All-American honors for the first time at the national level, something that head coach Justina Cassavell was expecting.

“We were aiming for All-American, and he fell short of that, but I think it was his first time there – when you go there the first time, it’s much different than anything else. It’s so competitive,” said Cassavell. “I think he walked away learning from his mistakes, feeling he could have been an All-American.”

Hernandez said he had an “off day at the wrong time.”

Hernandez also admitted he was “disappointed, but I took some positives out of the race. It was my first time at nationals for cross country.”

Despite missing out on the honor, Cassavell was confident in his run.

“He didn’t have a great race, but he didn’t have a poor race.”

Hernandez crossed the finish line at a mark of 25:21.5, 39 seconds slower than his time at the NCAA Atlantic Regionals held a week prior.

Cassavell said a goal was reached in Hernandez getting to that level.

“This was a big step for him. The biggest thing for him was to get to the NCAAs — this is just a stepping stone for next year,” said the head coach.

With the indoor season coming up in a couple of weeks, Cassavell noted that there is not much time for rest as Hernandez’ forte, track, is right around the corner.

“I have a lot of big goals I want to achieve. I know what I got to do to get there, and I feel that I’m properly motivated,” said Hernandez. 

The indoor season starts up in January when the Roadrunners will travel to The Armory in New York for the Roadrunner Invitational.