A week after a first and second place finish for the men’s and women’s cross country teams at the Vassar Season Starter, the teams did one better. This past Sunday, Sept. 11, both the men and women won the Ron Stonitsch Invitational at the Vassar Farm.
Miles Takiguchi ’23 won the men’s six kilometer race by over 30 seconds.
“I was pretty stoked to win my first ever collegiate race, especially with it being on Vassar’s home course,” Takiguchi said. “As I crossed the finish line over 100 meters ahead of second place, I thought, okay, so this is what it feels like.’ I’d previously finished second a total of six times and have had my eyes set on an individual victory for a while.”
Augusta Stockman ’23 won the women’s five kilometer race by almost 10 seconds.
Stockman reflected on her victory as a senior making the most of her last season.
“It’s a bittersweet combination of some things coming to a close—wearing the white senior jersey, knowing I only have one more race at the farm—but also still being at the start of this season and looking ahead to all we can accomplish together,” she said.
For both runners, their victories were improvements on already impressive showings at the Stonitsch Invitational last year, when Takiguchi placed fourth and Stockman finished seventh. Sunday was also both athletes’ first individual event victory as Brewers, both having earned as high as a second place finish at least once in their career. Takiguchi was only 10 days removed from a second place finish at the Vassar Season Starter in the four kilometer race.
He attributed his improvement to recent changes in his training regiment. “I’d previously upped my peak mileage to 120 miles per week and have been doing everything I can to become the greatest runner I can be,” Takiguchi explained.
Vassar rounded out the top three with Simon LaClair ’24 and Noni Pattington ’25 finishing third in their respectives races. The result marks LaClair’s second podium finish in as many events, while Pattington reached the podium for the first time this season after a seventh place finish in the season’s first event.
Stockman and Pattington’s podium appearances were complemented by Clara Wiesler ’24 in sixth, Anna Kaigle ’25 in 10th and Lily Shimpach ’25 in 22nd out of 92 competitors. The five finishes combined earned the Brewers 41 points, five better than second-place NYU. Seven other Brewers finished the race, all in the top three quarters of the rankings.
“[We are] a young team, but a committed team, and our showing on Saturday indicates that with some more work we have the potential to make a big impact this fall,” said Stockman of the complete team performance.
On the mens’ side, Jose Magana ’25 finished ninth, Aidan Mayer ’24 finished 10th and Tim Buchan ’25 finished 14th to bring the team to 30 points, an impressive 39 points better than NYU, whose men’s team also finished as the runner-up. On the men’s side, 11 other Brewers finished the race, also all in the top three-fourths of the rankings.
“There are a number of guys on the team that have been putting in the work, doing the little things as well as the big ones, since their first days in this program, [who] are finally starting to see the rewards of all their hard work,” Takiguchi said of the program’s well-rounded success.
Both teams now have three meets remaining before postseason competition begins on Oct. 29 and plenty of accomplishments to build upon as the team aspires to return to the national championship meet.
“The ultimate goal of this season is to return to nationals after our first ever trip there last year, to prove that we are a perennial national caliber team,” Takiguchi said. “This first race has set the tone for what we are capable of and what we expect of ourselves. It’s still early in the season and we’ve got to stay focused and stay hungry. But there’s not a doubt in my mind that we’ve got what it takes.”
“I’m really excited to see how far we can go,” said Stockman.