November 22, 2002

X-Country Concludes Seasons at N.Y. Meets

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“I think everyone is focused and committed to ending the year on the right foot,” said men’s distance coach Robert Johnson.

The men’s and women’s cross country teams finish off their seasons tomorrow with one last trip to Van Cortlandt Park in New York City.

Last weekend, the teams competed at the NCAA Northeast Regional on the same course. Both teams turned in solid efforts.

The women’s team placed sixth in a 36-team field. Senior captain Carlan Gray paced the team with an excellent 16th-place finish.

“We had some good individual performances,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing.

This weekend the team hopes for more of the same. It will be competing in the ECAC championship race, trying to finish off the season on the right foot.

Over the season, Duesing said, “We’ve seen some significant improvement with a lot of people.

“Everyone wants to go in and finish off their year as best they can,” Duesing continued.

But at the same time, the coach made sure not to overstate the importance of the contest. No matter where it is or what’s happening around it, it’s still just a 5000-meter race.

Men’s Team

The men will be running in the 94th IC4A Championships, one of the longest running collegiate cross country races in the country. The five-mile race will have a 34-team field, including Heps rival Princeton.

“We should be right in the mix for the team title,” said men’s distance coach Robert Johnson.

Cornell’s main competition will include Princeton and La Salle.

La Salle, which beat the Red earlier in the year at the NCAA pre-national meet in Terre Haute, Ind., will be without its top runner, Todd Witzleben, who will be running this weekend in the NCAA championships. Princeton, who placed third in this year’s Heptagonal cross country championships, will be running at full strength.

The Red will also have a few runners in contention for individual championships. Senior captain Dan Dombroski and sophomore Bruce Hyde both hope to be in the race for first, noted Johnson.

They will also try to become the ninth and tenth runners in Cornell history to break 24 minutes on a five-mile course.

Everyone else on the team has similar high aspirations.

“They want to go in and get their personal best,” said Johnson.

The team might not be in the NCAA Championships, but it’s still a big race and an opportunity to run.

“I think that the guys are feeling pretty good about themselves,” Johnson concluded.

It’s a low-pressure meet with a great opportunity for some big individual performances and possibly a team title.

Johnson summed it up well: “There’s a lot of motivation.”

Archived article by Matt James