The men’s and women’s cross country teams travel to Philadelphia this weekend to run in the La Salle Invitational. Everyone is looking for progress.
This weekend, the teams facing the Red won’t be quite as tough or as numerous as they were last week at the Iona Meet of Champions. However, the race still offers valuable experience and one more race for the runners to hone their skills for the postseason.
“We’re really training through this meet,” said men’s distance coach Robert Johnson.
Instead of the usual two days rest before the meet, the men will only have one. That reflects the team’s objective this year — postseason races. Johnson echoed the remarks he made last week regarding his team’s performance.
“I don’t care about the team competition at this point,” he said. “I’m just looking for guys to get similar sings of improvement. We’re better prepared to race now.”
And he looks for that trend to continue in the coming weeks.
Next weekend the Red travels to Terre Haute, IN. for the NCAA Pre-National Meet. That race follows the same courses as the NCAA Championships and offers some of the best competition Cornell will see this season.
Two weeks after that, the Red will go back to the Bronx for the Heptagonal Championships and the meets only get bigger from there.
“We have a long way to go,” Johnson pointed out. “I’m going to be on them about not being complacent.”
The team has done well so far, though.
“I think last week showed that we’re going in the right direction,” said Johnson. “I’m excited to get out there on Saturday.”
Women’s head coach Lou Duesing has similar objectives for his squad.
“I know it’s not going to be as deep or tough a field,” Duesing noted.
So the focus, he said, will be on performing well as a team.
Last weekend at Iona, the runners got out to a slow start and that resulted in a disappointing performance for the team. This week, Duesing looks for the women to show some get-up-and-go.
“I want them to come down and really race,” he said. “I’d be pretty surprised if we don’t see improvement pretty much across the board.”
The women face the same schedule as the men, and they do so with the added weight of the national rankings. Last week saw them at their highest point in the polls this year, No. 21, but this week the team slid down just below the ranked teams.
Polls don’t worry Duesing too much at this point, though. The squad is deep, and stocked with plenty of talent, speed, and intelligence.
“Regardless of whether you run well, you come away having learned something” the coach said.
Archived article by Matt James