If the Cornell cross-country teams wish to reach the NCAAs, they’ll have to take the road through the Heptagonal Championships first.
And they do so today, traveling to Van Cordtlandt Park in the Bronx to face off with the full complement of Ivy League schools as well as Navy.
In last year’s meet, the women finished second while the men took sixth.
Thirty-one teams will go to the NCAA Championships late next month, and 13 of them will be chosen by way of at-large bids. Both the men and women are looking to grab one of those berths.
And with the NCAA Regional Qualifying race next week, today’s race may be one of the Red’s last chances to prove to the selection committee that it is among the top programs in the country.
On the men’s side, Princeton has won the Heps title three years running, but the Tigers’ hopes this season are in jeopardy — the winner of the Heps last year, Paul Morrison, has been hurt this fall and will not compete today, and Mike Spence who finished second in 1999 graduated.
That puts the Red in prime position to steal the crown. Not only is Cornell 5-0 so far, but it also garnered 35th place in the Pre-National Meet earlier this month.
Junior Max King will likely pace the squad just as he has in every race for the Red this year. He finished 25th at Heps last season, clocking 25:55.6. Also expected to score for squad are senior captain Colin Moore as well as juniors Matt Gallagher and Geoff Van Fleet.
The women could be considered among the favorites to win Heps. However, if they run like they did at the Pre-National Meet — finishing 31st — their chances may be rudely extinguished. Several Ivy squads placed ahead of the Red in that competition.
Senior co-captains Meredith Freimer and Kim Chatman should anchor the team. Junior Halle Watson and freshman Jessica Parrott should also be expected to score.
Two things, though, are in favor for both the men and women. Both squads were able to rest last weekend, and furthermore, both have run at the Van Cortlandt course previously, having finished first and second, respectively, at the Ram Invitational in September.
Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj