Friday was a day for the cross country teams to get things sorted out, as both the men’s and women’s teams participated in the John Reif Memorial Run on the Moakly Course in Ithaca.
In his years at Cornell, Reif ’86 was a hard-working cross country runner, finishing as the team’s fifth man. A year after his graduation, a truck hit and killed him while he was training for a triathlon. In each of the sixteen years since, the Cornell teams have held the Reif Memorial Run in his honor.
This year, the meet offered the Red teams a chance to get ready for the Heptagonal Championships in a week.
“It’s the week before Heps, so virtually all the work has been done,” noted women’s head coach Lou Duesing.
The men’s team rested its top seven runners, and the women’s team its top eight, in preparation for this Friday’s competition in Van Cortland Park.
“We’re only allowed to run twelve people at Heps,” said Duesing, and for the women’s team, Saturday’s meet was all about figuring out who would be supporting the varsity runners there.
“It’s not exclusively based on the results of this race,” Duesing said.
The coach declined to say who the women’s last four participants would be at Heps, because the runners don’t know themselves. He did, however, point to several runners with admirable performances at the meet.
Sophomore Sarah Coseo claimed victory in the women’s 5K race, followed by senior Natalie Whelan. Sophomores Alyssa Simon, Amber McGown and Kari Haus rounded out the ladies top five runners in places three through six. Duesing pointed to Coseo first, also noting her strong performance the week before at the Harry Anderson Invitational in Rochester.
“Natalie Whelan had a very good run,” he continued, “and [Haus] perhaps had her best race of the season.”
Simon also had a good race, Duesing said, and McGown continued her strong return from an early season foot injury.
“I’m happy to see the progress that Amber McGown has made,” Duesing said.
Over the next week, the Red will begin to taper itself for Heps. The women’s team has one hard effort run and then some quicker workouts.
The goal is for the runners to be sharp but rested. The Memorial Run provided the first step in that direction, both mentally and physically. It offered the teams a chance to reflect on their heritage and sort out the last of the team’s top runners.
“I think a lot of people appreciate the tradition of Cornell cross country,” said Duesing. “I think it helps them when they race. Hopefully they’ll carry that into the meet next week,” Duesing concluded.
It’s one more thing the team can use, along with its considerable strength and talent, to get it to a conference championship.
On Nov. 1 in Van Cortland Park, the Heps await.
Archived article by Matt James