The cross country program was launched in 2007, when Mike Murphy led the team in three meets over the course of the season. Lowell Fisher was hired as head coach for the 2008 season, and the CIA Steels doubled its total races, competing six times against regional foes. The highlight of the ’08 season was when the women’s team finished in second place at the conference championship meet held at Purchase College in October. The women’s number one runner, Caroline Dacko, captured first place out of the 45 runners representing eight schools.
In 2009, the men’s and women’s teams built upon the previous year’s foundation, culminating with respectable third (women’s) and fourth (men’s) place finishes within the conference.
In 2010, the CIA Steels women's cross country team dominated the Hudson Valley Women’s Athletic Conference (HVWAC) Cross Country Championship meet on October 24, easily defeating six other colleges in the five-kilometer race to win the conference title.
The year 2011 saw the continued success of the women’s program as well as steady improvement on the men’s side.
The CIA women’s team again landed on top at the HVWAC Championships, with three of the top four runners—individual champion Jackie DeGrandpre (20:49), second-place finisher Brittany Ronan (22:41), and fourth-place winner Samantha Carlucci (22:35). Five of the 10 CIA runners finished in the top 15.
The men’s team captured third place, only three points out of the second-place spot. Two CIA athletes finished in the top 10—John Masching, seventh place (30:58) and Dylan Rutherford, eighth place (31:06)—and four CIA runners placed in the top 20.
2012 was the strongest season collectively in the history of the young program. The women’s team again finished as conference champions, besting second place Pratt Institute by 25 points. Three CIA female runners were in the top five—Jackie DeGrandpre (first), Brittany Ronan (third), and Shannon Haggerty (fifth). The CIA men finished in second place, with four runners in the top 20. This was the best-ever finish for the men’s program. The year was capped off by CIA coach Lowell Fisher being named both the men’s and women’s Coach of the Year.
2013 saw the departure of many key members of the CIA team, including its coach. After five seasons, Lowell Fisher ended his very successful coaching tenure with the Steels.
“I can’t say enough about the focus and energy that Lowell brought to CIA cross country and athletics overall,” said Dave Whalen, associate dean for student activities, recreation, and athletics. “He epitomized a dedicated coach, and was just the person we needed to start a strong foundation for the program. He certainly made that happen.”
The 2014 season had its share of highlights, with two freshmen runners on the women’s team—Olivia Jose and Cheyene Boinais—finishing in the top 10 at the HVIAC Championships. In addition, top male runner Grant Rico finished just out of the top 10 in 11th place. “I look forward to working with a solid core of runners returning for the fall 2015 season,” said Coach Murphy. “We will look to improve our PRs from week to week and remain competitive in the HVIAC.”
2015 brought together a determined group of student-athletes. The men’s team finished in third place in the conference, behind new member SUNY Environmental School of Forestry and a strong Albany College of Pharmacy team. Leading CIA male runner Hon Allmond posted a 13th placed finish at the conference championships. The women’s team finished in a tie for third place, led by Ellie Crampton (23.26) coming in 16th overall. The Steels placed five female runners in the top 50.
2016 brought new coach Frank Risole to the program, after the departure of three-year coach and longtime staff member Mike Murphy. “Mike epitomized what it means to be both a motivational and caring coach,” said Associate Dean Dave Whalen. “His quality work with our student-athletes will be sorely missed.” Under Coach Risole, the men’s team finished in seventh place while the women placed fourth. Freshman Fiona Nicholson (23.03) captured 8th place at the conference championships.