In November, cross country teams see the fruits of their labors. Hundreds of miles of summer training and workout after grueling workout pay off with improvement and solid performances in the post-season races.
On Saturday at Boston’s Franklin Park both cross country teams got a glimpse of that sort of improvement. The men’s and women’s teams both improved on their performances at Heps two weeks ago and put in solid all-around efforts.
The women finished sixth in a field of 36; the men were 14th of 33 in the NCAA Northeastern Regionals.
“I was pretty much pleased with the effort across the board,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing about his squad.
The team showed significant improvement for its third straight race and made a better showing than most people expected.
“We were picked anywhere from seventh to tenth, so it was nice to do better than the pundits thought we would,” said Duesing.
Cornell finished in a pack of Heps schools at the top of the standings. Columbia led the league with a second-place finish in the team standings. Dartmouth and Yale were third and fourth, respectively, and Brown tallied a seventh-place finish. Princeton finished second at the Mid Atlantic Regional.
Duesing said he wasn’t surprised with the Ivy’s dominance. The results, he said, speak for themselves.
“It’s a deep, strong conference,” he said. “We demonstrate that on a regular basis.”
Junior Kate Boyles and freshman Nyam Kagwima led Cornell’s effort with 26th and 30th place finishes, respectively.
“I thought Nyam ran an outstanding race,” said Duesing.
Kagwima was the third best freshman in the race.
Duesing noted the efforts of Boyles, sophomore Emily McCabe and classmate Mandy Knuckles, too.
“She did a really good job,” said Duesing about McCabe.
“It might have been Mandy Knuckle’s best race; if not, it was close to it,” he continued.
Seniors Christine Eckstaedt and Kinsy Miller, and sophomore Angela Kudla also earned praise for their races.
Men’s coach Johnson also thought his team performed well on the weekend.
“I think that the guys performed better than they did at Heps,” said Johnson. “For where we are as a team it was an honest effort.”
The Red ran its young line-up for the race with an eye towards getting experience for the future. There were three freshmen running in the race and one sophomore. Top finisher and captain Dan Hart was the only senior running in the race. In men’s cross country, where experience and maturity are key, the Red had the deck stacked against them.
Johnson was careful to note the team will look for improvement in the future.
“It’s frustrating to finish 14th at the regional,” said Johnson. “It’s part of the maturation process, but that doesn’t make it any easier to take.”
Every member of the team, he noted, had improved significantly from where he was at this point the year before. Hart was the only runner at the meet with experience at regionals. He was the sixth man last year.
This year, he was the team’s top man.
“I think Dan ran his best race of the season,” said Johnson. “He executed our plan perfectly.”
Hart came through the first mile at 5:12 and averaged a 5:13 pace over the whole 10k course, starting out towards the back of the pack and working his way up, passing people.
“He ran really smart,” concluded Johnson.
Freshman Rick Lader was the team’s second finisher and the second best freshman in the race. He has remained one of the top two runners on the team for the whole season.
“Ricky was solid as usual,” said Johnson.
“You couldn’t ask for more from a freshman,” he continued, noting Lader’s consistency. “He’s a very hard worker and he should keep improving. The future is really bright for that kid.”
Johnson also gave nods to junior Oliver Tassinari, sophomore Ed Palermo, and freshmen Aaron Arlinghaus for their performances; they were the team’s third and fourth runners, respectively.
In the JV race, Johnson noted freshman David Schenk and junior Forrest Dillaway.
“David ran his best race in a Cornell uniform,” said Johnson.
Dillaway was the Reds top JV finisher.
Johnson noted the value of the race for getting the team experience in a meet of national importance, and also experiencing a 10k course in real collegiate competition. In doing so, the team managed to put in a solid performance too.
“I thought we ran fairly well for where we are,” said Johnson. “In the grand scheme of things we’re taking the right steps and moving in the right direction.”
Both teams will conclude their seasons next weekend, the men at the IC4A Championships and the women at the ECAC Championships.
Archived article by Matt James