The 18th annual John Reif ’86 Memorial Run was thoroughly dominated by the Red on Friday, despite being unscored and featuring Ithaca College as the only opposing team. The women captured the top 11 spots and 17 of the top 19, while the men claimed eight of the top ten — mainly facing competition from unattached Cornell track athletes.
Teams that have competed in past Reif Runs, including Syracuse, Houghton College and Keystone College, decided not to make the trip this year. Although the scope of the meet was modest, it remained a valuable experience for the junior varsity runners who competed.
“It’s hard to get excited about a race when not a lot of teams are in it, but a lot of people wanted to go out there and run the race of their life and a lot of people did,” said junior Christy Planer, who has spent a good part of the season struggling with a nagging stress reaction in her right femur. She finished the five kilometer race first in a time of 18:45.8.
Though Cornell’s Moakley Course usually features a descent into the gorge, that leg of the race was excised due to wet and dangerous conditions. This left the athletes with a relatively flat and easy course.
“A lot of people took into account there was no gorge, and so they ran really fast,” Planer said.
Women’s coach Lou Duesing has some upcoming decisions to make regarding which two JV runners to bring to the NCAA Regional Championships in three weeks. He explained it’s not as simple as taking the top two Reif finishers.
“A lot of that is going to depend on health as well as how things go with people as they keep working out. We’re going to wait and punch that button later on.”
Conversely, men’s distance coach Robert Johnson will definitely be entering Friday’s top two finishers in the regional meet. Sophomore Stephen Bakke came in second and sophomore David Shenk finished first for the second consecutive year, attacking the five mile course in 26:24.
“I don’t think it’s anything too prestigious,” Shenk said of his Reif wins.
His coach, however, knew the benefits of success in a small meet.
“When David runs in a race [and] he knows he might win, he runs really well,” Johnson said. “But when he gets in a larger race he might get a little bit intimidated. These smaller races are just what these younger guys need because it gives them more confidence to get up front.”
Johnson also praised the performance of a Red athlete not even on the cross country team. Freshman Brian Mongeon, who runs the 800 meters in track, finished third in the Reif with a time of 26:56.
“That kid’s in some incredible shape to be beating my cross country runners,” Johnson said. “I think that really bodes well for his track season.”
Archived article by Dan Schiff
Sun Staff Writer