November 3, 2003

Lady Harriers Disprove Critics at Heptagonals

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“Some days you get the barr, and some days the barr gets you.” Sam Elliott spoke those words in The Big Lebowski, but they could have easily applied to the Cornell cross country teams on Friday.

The women and the men finished fifth and eighth, respectively, in the eight-team Heptagonal cross country championships. Both were unhappy with their efforts.

“People look back and think we could have done better than that,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing about his team.

“I don’t think we ran up to our potential,” said men’s distance coach Robert Johnson.

That said, neither team finished lower than expected in the standings.

“There was no way, going into the meet, that people figured us to finish much better than seventh,” said Duesing. “So to beat those teams (Penn, Harvard and Brown), and to beat them handily, is an accomplishment.”

The women’s team benefited from the late-season return of three experienced runners — junior Kate Boyles, who placed 19th to lead the team; classmate Alyssa Simon, and sophomore Christy Planer, who finished fifth on the team.

Freshman Nyam Kagwima, and sophomores Emily McCabe and Mandy Knuckles filled the second through fourth spots for the team. Duesing had particular praise for Kagwima.

“For Nyam that is a 49-second personal best for Van Cortlandt Park,” he noted. “That kind of improvement is dramatic