Despite the numerous setbacks last season, the Cornell men’s track and field team persevered and consistently focused on its season-long goal: coming out on top at Heps. However, the team would ultimately fall just short of their lofty aspirations, settling for a second place finish at the championship meet.
Now, with the indoor portion of Cornell’s season beginning next week, the Red will look to deliver on a goal it was unable to meet last year.
“We had a lot of little successes, but our main goal of the season is always to win,” head coach Adrian Durant said.
And in fact, the Red will have an advantage over last season’s team right off the bat. During the 2016-17 season, Cornell faced consistent facility setbacks and weather issues, forcing runners to travel back and forth to Ithaca College. This year, with Barton Hall being available for athletes to practice in during the fall months, the proverbial plates are once again spinning in the Red’s favor.
“I think it’s a higher quality of training [than last year],” Durant said. “As coaches, we keep track of progress, so we can see clear differences between this year and last year.”
This season’s roster is also projected to be deeper than last year’s — as evidenced by Durant’s difficulty in pinpointing just a few key runners for the championships.
“I can think of 30 guys that can score in the top five [at Heps] this year,” he said. “It’s hard to just point out one or two guys because I think that to win our conference it has to be more than just the same few guys.”
This offseason also saw the additions of two assistant coaches to the coaching staff: Nate Arnold and Mike Henderson. Both coaches enter Cornell coming off coaching experiences at William and Mary where they brought a fifth consecutive CAA Championship to the school.
“We have two new coaches, and anytime someone new comes into a position they bring new energy and new perspective,” Durant said. “We may have a perfect storm of good things here that could lead to some championships.”
Despite the overall luxury of available training facilities on campus, improvements in workouts, and the addition of two new coaches, only time will tell how good this team can be. Onlookers will be able to get a first glimpse of the Red in action at the Greg Page Relays on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Barton Hall.