New Paltz Sports Information Department
NEW PALTZ, NY – The State University of New York at New Paltz announced the hiring of new interim head men's and women's cross country coach Aislinn Ryan Thursday. Ryan takes over the Hawks cross country program from incumbent, Mike Trunkes who spent the last 12 seasons at the helm.
"I love growing the potential in people; this team has an abundance of potential and many individual members who have a lot more they want to show," Ryan said. "Coaching for a well-respected school in the Hudson Valley brings me a lot of pride and it doesn't get any better than the trails that surround SUNY New Paltz."
Ryan comes from a storied running background, spending more than 20 years in the sport. They grew up in the Hudson Valley, graduating from Warwick Valley High School in 2006. Ryan was a standout on the Wildcats cross country team, being named National Senior Athlete of the Year and New York State Cross Country Runner of the Year in 2005, while also earning a New York State Cross Country Championship in 2005 and a Footlocker Cross Country National title in 2004.
Following a successful high school career, Ryan earned a full Division I scholarship at the University of Colorado where they went on to earn All-Region and All-Big 12 honors in 2006, while also helping the Buffaloes to a second-place finish at the NCAA National Championships after crossing 46th overall.
In 2007, Ryan earned a spot on the USA Cross Country Junior World Championship team and was later inducted into the inaugural class of the Section IX Hall of Fame in 2017.
SUNY New Paltz is Ryan's second collegiate head coaching stint, as they spent one season from 2014 to 2015 at the helm of the University of Alaska cross country program.
"My most exciting challenge right at the start is to become comfortable with unfamiliar trails quickly," Ryan said. "I already feel the support from the athletes and the community in the athletic department to make that learning curve smooth."
Ryan takes over a successful Hawks program that brings back an ample amount of talent from last year's roster. National qualifier and SUNYAC Hall of Fame inductee Emily Cavanagh returns for her senior season, while Rookie of the Year Clara Flores-Reininger looks to build off a solid freshman campaign. On the men's side, senior Jack Wilson will lead a deep team, which will bring in a plethora of talent to give the Hawks the opportunity for possibly a historic finish at the conference meet.
"The Women's side has a strong group of returning athletes as well as five new runners that will make a positive impact," Ryan said. "The men are introducing seven new members, which creates a lot of promising possibilities. We have our sights set on improvements at SUNYACs, Regionals and Nationals. We are all going to work as a team to make those three meets our most successful."
Ryan has corresponded with most of their team individually, and as a group the Hawks feel as though 2019 has the potential to be a special season for both men's and women's sides. Ryan is enthusiastic for the opportunity to take over the program and is excited to help get the team to reach their potential.
"The overall consensus is that they are focused right now on their mileage and having dreams of more success as a team this season. They believe in each other; that gives me a lot of hope and excitement," Ryan said. "When my runners toe the line, I want them to feel in their hearts that no other team they are toeing the lines with have worked harder than they have or have enjoyed the ride as much as they have. I want this program to be one that focuses on the joy of reaching goals with teammates. I want to establish a program that undeniably works hard, has fun and is a positive community they can rely upon, on and off the course."
The Hawks kick off their 2019 campaign August 30 at the Vassar Season Starter.