Same face — new job description. That is the case for the new head coach of Rider’s cross country teams.
Former Assistant Coach Bob Hamer was promoted to head coach this past off-season after former Head Coach Rob Pasquariello was not reappointed in June.
While he is familiar with the team and how the program works, there are still some big changes in Hamer’s responsibilities.
“Overseeing the entire program is a new challenge for me,” he said. “Previously, my coaching responsibilities were limited to the distance runners and cross country. They still will be my primary focus but I will be overseeing a staff of three assistant coaches and providing support and guidance in the other event areas.”
The team didn’t seem fazed by the changes in the Fordham Invitational meet held on Sept. 6.
The men’s team placed seventh out of 16 teams with a score of 226 points, while the women’s team claimed 10th out of 20 teams, scoring 284 points.
“We competed well and stuck to the race plan I had established prior to the meet,” said Hamer.
The following weekend, the team competed in the Old Nassau Run, where the men took seventh place out of 10 teams and the women placed 11th of 13. Although Hamer was slightly disappointed with the teams’ placings, he believes they will only get better.
Hamer is leading very young teams, with only four seniors between the men’s and women’s teams. With three of those four being female, leadership on the women’s team will not be a problem for the season. He believes that his talented young squad will be able to rally around the experienced seniors: Megan Crowe, Patrice Mahoney and Kelly Wojciehowski.
However, lone senior Matt Dahl leads the men’s team.
“[He] is developing into a great leader and has been an integral part of the success and growth of this program,” said Hamer.
Experience has not been an issue so far for the talented young crew of underclassmen. For the women’s team, it has been a freshman leading the team thus far: Heather Giovagnoli was the first Bronc at the finish line in both of her first two races with the team. She placed 37th in her first collegiate meet while falling to 39th in her second debut with a time of 24:02.
Sophomore Christian Gonzalez, like Giovagnoli, has finished first for the Broncs in both races. In the first meet of the season, he placed 19th overall for the Broncs with a time of 27:36, while improving at the Old Nassau Run and claiming 11th place. Gonzalez was also named the MAAC Runner of the Week for his 19th place performance at the Fordham Invitational.
This cast of young talent leaves Hamer with high hopes and lofty goals for the future of this program.
The teams will continue their training schedule until competing again on Oct. 3.