September 12, 2005

Men's, Women's XC Crush Army to Open Season

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The men’s cross country team had a strong start to its season, defeating Army on Friday, 19-39, on the Moakley Course at the Robert Trent Golf Course in Ithaca. Junior Brad Baird and senior captain Bruce Hyde led the way for the Red, finishing 1-2 ahead of Army standout Phil Sakala.

The Red ran the first three miles of the 5-mile course together before Baird and Hyde strode out in front of the group for the final two miles. They finished in 25:50.1 and 25:50.2, respectively, a full 10 seconds ahead of Sakala. Following Sakala were junior Ricky Lader (26:08.8) and sophomore Sage Canaday (26:09.9). Not far behind were sophomore Jimmy Wyner in seventh (26:20.8), senior Bryan Jarrett in eighth (26:23.3) and freshman Zach Hine in 11th (26:33.1) to round out the top-7.

“I was most pleased with how well the team ran together,” said head coach Robert Johnson. “They went in wanting to run together until the 3-mile mark and they did. Bruce [Hyde] did a great job with organizing the group and encouraging them. Early on, they need to work together to be successful.”

The strategy certainly worked in the Red’s behalf, showing only a 30-second spread between the first five runners. For much of the team, Friday’s meet was the first hard effort of the season, as they were not required to run in the time trial held at the end of August. Johnson hopes this will work in the team’s favor.

The Red put in some strong individual performances as well, particularly from Baird and Canaday. “Sage had one of the most impressive performances – he has worked very hard after a tough freshman year, so this was really a breakthrough for him,” Johnson said.

With its next meet two weeks away, the Red plans to focus its energies on training properly and progressively.

“We are in a good starting point. This was a great way to get the season underway,” Johnson said.

The women’s team fared well also, crushing Army 15-50. Led by junior Nyam Kagwima, the Red swept the first eight spots.

Kagwima finished the rolling 5,000-meter Moakley Course in 18:54.98, less than half a second ahead of senior Christy Planer (18:55.3). They were followed by freshmen Aeriel Emig (18:57.8) and Marie Parks (19:02.1). Senior captain Angela Kudla finished fifth in 19:05.2, creating only a 10-second spread in the top-5. Senior Emily McCabe, who led the race early on, finished sixth in 19:08.5 and freshman Dani Schlaub finished seventh in 19:09.6.

Quite impressive were the strong freshman performances put forth during the race. Six-of-the-top-13 were freshman competing in their first collegiate races. The strength of the freshman class, combined with the experience and talent of the upperclassmen should provide for a strong season, even with the loss of several key runners to graduation last May.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will take this weekend off before traveling to the Iona Meet of Champions on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Archived article by Erin Garry
Sun Staff Writer