This past Friday, the 19th annual John Reif Memorial Run gave members of the men’s and women’s cross country teams one last chance to earn spots on the roster for the Heptagonal Championships, which will take place this Friday at VanCortlandt Park in New York City.
Freshman Dan Gorman, who joined the men’s team as a walk-on at the beginning of the season, won the five-mile race on the Moakley Course in 27:00.5, a full 40 seconds ahead of the next finisher. His time was a minute faster than the time he ran at the season opener against Army in September. Junior Stephen Bakke (third, 27:56.9), sophomore Charles Riley (seventh, 28:13.3), junior Aaron Arlinghaus (eighth, 28:23.9), and senior Ross McGowan (10th, 28:32.1) rounded out the field for the Red.
“Dan ran an absolutely amazing race, he dominated the field,” said distance coach Robert Johnson. “The most impressive thing was how well he was able to run on such a wet, sloppy course.”
Although Gorman was not the favorite to win the spot to Heps, it became obvious with a mile and a half left that he would win the race. By that point, he had already distanced himself considerably from the rest of his competitors. Gorman’s teammates stood on the final hill screaming “stormin’ Gorman” as he flew past them, not even hearing their cheer.
“He is really coming on strong at the end of the season – he has even improved considerably from a week ago. He stepped it up that extra level and came through,” Johnson said.
A week ago at the Penn State Invitational, Bakke, Riley and McGowan all out-ran Gorman. Earlier in the season, working too hard in practice had drained Gorman and hindered improvement. After backing off in practice, his times began to fall. Johnson noted Gorman’s focus and strong work ethic in the progress he has made.
The men’s five-kilometer race was won by senior Gordan Hall, a mid-distance runner for the track team in 16:34.5. Freshman Eric Ryan, who will compete in Heps, was second in 16:35.4, a personal best.
“I wanted to give Eric one more race before Heps to sharpen up,” Johnson said.
Senior Ruth Morgan led the way for the women, crossing the line in 19:31.6, a personal best for her on the Moakley Course. Morgan’s time was 86 seconds faster than her finish at September’s dual meet against Army.
Morgan’s first-place finish was just the beginning of the Red’s domination over visitors Syracuse, Temple and Ithaca College, as the Red filled the first 10 places. Junior Erin Linehan was second in 19:43.9, followed by junior Megs DiDario in third (20:00.8), sophomore Alicia Korol in fourth (20:02.9) and freshman Rachel Kirsch in fifth (20:19.8). Junior Caroline Hill and freshman Molly O’Toole rounded out the top-7, finishing in 20:21.7 and 20:34.4, respectively.
Now that the Red has finalized its roster for Heps, the men and women will undergo their last few days of preparation before Friday, with workouts tapering off until then.
The men will send in a relatively experienced squad, with five of the top-7 men having already competed at Heps in previous years. The women will come in with less experience but not without talent. A solid mix of freshman and more experienced upperclassmen have run well throughout the season, and will attempt to do so through Friday.
Archived article by Erin Garry
Sun Staff Writer