The men’s and women’s cross country teams hope to continue their success this weekend when they travel to New York City to compete in the Iona Meet of Champions at Van Cortland Park. Both teams defeated Army two weeks ago in their first meet of the season.
Last year’s competition saw the men finish second out of nineteen teams, placing seven runners in the top-35.
Senior captain Bruce Hyde was the lead runner for the Red, crossing the line second in a time of 25:02.1. Kate Boyles ’05 led the women to fourth place as a team, finishing second in 21:02.3. For the men, this year’s competition may prove to be much stronger than last year, as the field boasts several nationally-ranked teams, including No. 3 University of Arkansas and No. 7 Iona College.
Arkansas All-Americans Jophat Boit, Marc Rodriguez, and Peter Kosgei should provide some stiff competition for the Red.
“It’s great that Arkansas will be there, and I think the guys are really excited to race them,” said distance coach Robert Johnson. “There will be plenty of guys up front for Bruce to run with.”
Johnson expects his team to run well individually, as Van Cortland Park is a course which many of them know well.
Junior Brad Baird will be someone to watch, coming off of a great summer and strong showing thus far. As a sophomore, Baird was 35th in a time of 26:10.5.
“Brad is in great shape. We are expecting a huge PR [personal record] from him this weekend,” Johnson said.
Sickness and injury have swept quietly through the women’s team over the past few weeks, leaving senior Emily McCabe, one of the Red’s top finishers last year, unable to compete tomorrow due to a minor foot injury.
“People have been here for awhile, so many are getting sick. Sometimes only 10 or 12 hours can turn something around, for better or worse,” said head coach Lou Duesing.
Even without McCabe, the Red should still see some strong performances.
“I have been very happy with the quality of workouts. They are working hard and performing well,” Duesing said.
Junior Nyam Kagwima and senior Christy Planer will lead the way for the women. Kagwima and Planer placed first and second, respectively, in the season opener two weeks ago. A strong contingent of freshman women will certainly have an impact on the Red’s performance this weekend.
As with the men, the women will have some strong competition from other schools, but it is difficult to gage exactly the level this early in the season.
“It’s hard to say where we are based on one meet. Dartmouth, Brown, and Harvard will all be there, which will hopefully give us a frame of reference for the rest of the season,” Duesing said.
Johnson echoed this feeling about the team’s opportunity.
“It will be great to see how we stack up,” he said.
For both the men and women, this will be the first opportunity of the season to run at Van Cortland Park, the same course that they will be running at Heps at the end of the season.
“This is the first all-out race of the season. The times are what is most important,” Johnson said.
The large field and competitive athletes should provide a good environment for fast times for the Red. The women will be running first at 9:30, followed by the men at 10:15.
Archived article by Erin Garry
Sun Staff Writer