The men’s and women’s cross country squads wrap up their regular seasons at home this weekend, hosting the Reif Memorial at Moakley Course. It is the final chance for each team to gain preparation for next week’s Heptagonal championships.
Unfortunately for fans, that means most of the top runners for the Red will be on the sidelines resting. Still, men’s junior Sage Canaday stressed that the meet has significance.
“Traditionally, our top runners will sit out of this meet … [but] the top Cornell runner in the Reif will earn his trip to Heps next week with our top-12 guys,” Canaday said.[img_assist|nid=19078|title=Catch this|desc=The cross country teams will return home for their last meet before Heps, the Reif Invitational this weekend. (Robert Bonow / Sun Photo Editor)|link=popup|align=right|width=66|height=100]
The spotlight will be shifted from the Red’s veterans to many of its young players, who will be battling for a roster spot on the Heps team that heads to New York City next week. Last year’s winner, sophomore Dan Gorman, will try to repeat his performance and serve as the alternate in the Ivy championships. Other runners to look for are sophomore Andy Miller and freshmen Kyle Wolpert and Dale Taylor.
The Heps squad, meanwhile, has stayed busy over the last week by having some of its toughest workouts of the season. Canaday said he is in top shape after logging in more than 100 miles this week.
Looking ahead to next week, the Red will go into the Heps coming off a second-place performance at the Penn State Invitational. Senior captain Brad Baird, along with Canaday and junior Jimmy Wyner, will try to lead the Red against some of the top teams in the Northeast.
Canaday will aim to start off quickly in New York, even at the cost of losing steam by the end of the race. He differs from some other Red runners such as senior Captain Brad Baird in his style.
“I also try to run the last mile as hard as possible…[so that] I cross the finish line feeling like I’m going to either collapse or throw-up,” Canaday said.
The women’s team will also rest most of its top runners in preparation for Heps, taking a mental break with the meet only a week away. Even without its best performers, the Red showed its depth in dominating the meet featuring Buffalo, Ithaca College, Syracuse and Temple last year. Despite a recent setback at the pre-national meet in Terre Haute, Ind., the team is happy with the way it has run this year. Still, the team does not feel that it has run to its potential this season.
“A lot of us have been looking forward to [Heps] all season to prove that our team this year is even better than any of the performances we’ve put forth so far,” said senior Toni-Lynn Salucci.
One such performance was the season’s other meet in New York, the Iona Meet of Champions. Salucci and the Red fell just short of Boston College en route to a third place finish there. This weekend, however, Cornell is focused on staying healthy for next week’s season-ending meet.