It’s all about getting ready for the season ahead.
When the air just starts to feel a little cooler, then you know it’s about time for the cross country teams to get running. Both the men’s and women’s squads travel to West Point this weekend to begin their seasons on the hills around the Hudson River.
The meet gives the Red a chance to tune up for the season ahead and prepare for bigger, tougher races.
However, that’s not to suggest the race will be easy on the runners. The Army course provides plenty of challenges.
“You go up a ski slope two times,” senior captain Geoff Van Fleet said.
It is a path sure to give the teams’ freshmen a thorough introduction to intercollegiate racing.
On the men’s team the frosh face the delightful challenge of a course three kilometers longer than the ones they ran in high school. There they ran 5k; here they’ll do 8k.
This race shouldn’t place quite as much pressure on the men’s team’s runners, though. It’s only a starting point for the Red.
“We’re looking at this meet more like a workout,” Van Fleet said. “Our focus this year is less on this meet and more on [the contests] later in the season.”
With that in mind, both senior captains Van Fleet and Dan Dombroski will sit the meet out in an effort to fully recover from injuries. They look to make their season debut in two weeks at the Iona Meet of Champions in New Rochelle, N.Y.
In their absence, they look for sophomore Bruce Hyde to lead the way for the Red.
“He’s looking great in practice, and he doesn’t like to lose,” Van Fleet said.
The team is looking for senior John Castilhos and junior Dan Hart, among others, to step up for the race. They’ve put in the work over the summer and have run well in practice.
Now they aim to convert that effort into better times on the course and hopefully a win for the Red. No matter how the team looks at the race, they’re still there to compete, noted Van Fleet. The team wants a win.
On the women’s team, they feel the same way about victory.
“We’ve won this meet as long as I’ve been running on the team,” said senior captain Carlan Gray.
Like the men though, the ladies don’t plan to go into the meet full force. Instead, it offers them an opportunity to get used to racing again so they’ll be ready for the season.
“It’s about getting everyone back into a competitive state of mind,” said Gray.
The team looks to begin the season and start to build upon its success last year, when the Red ranked in the top 25 in the country and qualified for the NCAA championship.
Despite past success, Gray declined to predict who would lead the race for the Red. There are just too many talented runners.
“The strength of our team is that everyone runs close together,” she noted.
No matter who is in front, Cornell has a positive outlook for the season.
“We have a really good team this year,” said junior Lorraine Ricci. “There’s a lot of potential.”
And without a doubt, the Red looks to capitalize on that potential, this weekend and for the rest of the fall.
“I just hope people are going into it with confidence, and [they] remember to have a good time,” concluded Gray.
That, after all, is what it’s about.
Archived article by Matt James