After a strong regular season of racing by the men’s and women’s cross country teams, it is now the most anticipated weeks of their respective seasons. This first week of postseason competition features the Heps finals — a race that both teams look forward to every year.
Men’s cross country coach Zeb Lang ’03 spoke about how this one race is able to bring together the Ivy League schools for a great competition.
“Every year I look forward to the Heps so much,” he said. “What’s fun about it is that every school brings the utmost intensity for this meet. It brings all the Ivy League schools together, and it’s an outstanding race.”
This past weekend, however, the Red hosted its lone home meet of the season, the 26th annual John Reif Memorial Run at the Moakley Course on Friday afternoon.
While preparing for the meet, Lang said that he felt a little bit of nostalgia of his days racing for Cornell.
“It was really nice,” he said. “What was fun for me was running on this course as an undergrad 10 years ago, and now getting to set it up for my guys. It was exciting getting the course ready to be run on.”
According to women’s cross country coach Artie Smith ‘96, what initially seemed like adverse weather turned out well for the race.
“We had a really nice turnout,” he said. “Despite what we thought was going to be bad weather, it actually turned out to be a really nice day. We had a nice crowd and the atmosphere was great.”
The men’s top finisher for the race was freshman Ben Rainero (8th), followed closely by freshman Brian Eimstad (9th), freshman Sam Baxter (11th), sophomore Jon Phillips (12th) and junior Michael Conroy (13th).
The top finisher for the women’s team was senior Kelsey Karys (4th), finishing just ahead of Dale Kinney (5th), sophomore Christine Driscoll (7th), freshman Maggi Szpak (9th), sophomore Corey Dowe (10th) and junior Elizabeth Simpson (11th).
With this meet completed, the Red is now preparing for the Heps finals at Princeton on Saturday, Oct. 27th — a meet that is always very competitive, according to Smith.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge of good competition,” he said. “Four other teams in our league this year have been ranked nationally. There’s a lot of tradition surrounding the Heps, but most of all we’re looking forward to the challenge of a great race.”
Smith pointed to confidence and experience as being traits that are going to aid the Red in its pursuit of a Heps title this year.
“I feel really good about [Heps],” he said. “I think it’s a very confident group. The Heps is a meet that we always care a lot about. We’re health, and they’re very well prepared. The other thing that’s good is that this is a very experienced group.”
Lang summed up what he felt were the best parts about competing in the Heps finals.
“It’s so exciting to see how our team stacks up every year,” he said. “It’s always an honor to be a part of the team that goes to the Heps, and to represent your school.”