The women’s cross country team trekked to South Bend, Ind., on Friday to test themselves against some of the nation’s top programs. After finishing 12th out of 24 schools at the Notre Dame Invitational, the Red harriers have a better idea of where they stand as a team.
“I think our team did pretty well overall,” said junior Angela Kudla, who finished 115th. “We don’t have a lot of experience running in those types of races. It was good to get over that and compete with some really fast runners.”
Leading the Red was senior Kate Boyles, who attacked the five-kilometer course with a time of 17:00, good enough for an eighth place finish. The gap between Boyles and the team’s runner-up, senior captain Sarah Coseo in 62nd place, kept Cornell from overcoming Florida State, Penn State and Purdue. Cornell’s 327 team points were within 16 points of all three of those teams.
“I think we are capable of running with some of the top teams in the country but we haven’t really shown it yet as a team,” said Boyles. “I think we definitely have the raw talent, the ability and the fitness, so it’s just a matter of showing it.”
Coach Lou Duesing explained how the race was not difficult only in terms of the elite competition, but also with regard to the course and the volume of runners.
“The race had 195 finishers, but there were more starters,” he said. “About 150-meters into the race you have to take a long 90 degree right hand turn. People from the right and left sides of the starting line compress those in the middle as you’re making the turn. As a result, you either have to get out extremely hard at a pace that there’s just no way to maintain, or you run the risk of having a lot of contact.”
Unfortunately for Cornell, there was plenty of contact.
“Some of our runners literally had to come to a stop because people had fallen right in front of them, and they didn’t want to step on them,” Duesing said. “As a result they got kind of stuck in as many as three spots. I think the times that they ran were not indicative of how fast they were running because of those stops.”
“On one side you don’t like splitting the team, but in the first half of the season you want as many people engaged in racing as possible,” said Duesing. “We were only allowed to run nine at Notre Dame, and since you’ve got to run 12 at the [Heptagonal Championships], we had to have something this weekend for other people. For some people, instead of being the 10th runner, you’ve got a chance to be the first runner. People get really gassed up about that.”
The Red next runs on Saturday, Oct. 16, at the Penn State National Invitational at State College, Penn.
Archived article by Dan Schiff
Sun Staff Writer