Only three weeks ago, the men’s and women’s cross country teams had a hit a season low. Both teams had just finished sixth of eighth in the Heps championships – much lower than expected – and were facing the prospect of a disappointing season.
But that all changed for both teams in less than half an hour at this past Saturday’s ECAC and IC4A championships, held in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park.
The women won the ECAC championship race with 76 points, and the men placed second in the IC4A championship race with 84 points, 14 behind Duke.
For the women, it was their second ECAC championship in four years. The women placed ahead of Maryland, LaSalle, Yale, Iona and James Madison, among others. Except for LaSalle, all of those squads had beaten the Red this season.
“I thought people, especially people who are – pretty inexperienced, handled the championship part of the season very well,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “The fact that the people had the experience that they had at the two previous meets, I think they used that.”
Leading the way for the women was junior Nyam Kagwima, who placed fifth overall (18:07.9) to earn All-East honors. For Kagwima, the performance was a triumphant exclamation point to a roller-coaster season.
“Nyam had two races this year – one instance where cold medicine did her in, and another instance at the Regionals where she didn’t eat enough,” Duesing said. “She really didn’t let that disappointment get to her, and really ran a terrific race.”
Close behind Kagwima was freshman Marie Parks, whose 10th-place finish (18:22.3) also made her an All-East honoree. Classmate Aeriel Emig missed the honor by one place, finishing 16th (18:33.8).
“I’m as excited as they are that they had this [type of] season,” Duesing said. “You watch people improve, and you watch the team do really good things.”
Juniors Christy Paul and Toni-Lynn Salucci were singled out by Duesing for consistent performances in the recent championship races. He also recognized the leadership of senior Angela Kudla as being key for the Red’s success.
Paul finished 22nd (18:41.2) and Salucci crossed the line 23rd (18:42.1) to cement Cornell’s victory. Rookies Katie Roll (27th, 18:45.6) and Danielle Schaub (37th, 18:56.6) rounded out the pack for the women.
Despite being without senior Bruce Hyde, a 2004 All-American and team captain, the men’s team finished ahead of Notre Dame, William & Mary, Duquesne and Columbia, among others, in the five-mile race.
The men were also led by a pair of All-East performers in junior Brad Baird, who finished ninth (25:24), and sophomore Sage Canaday, who placed 13th (25:26).
“It was great,” Baird said. “We’ve made so many improvements as a team. I just think that as the season progresses, we understood what it will take to win. We’re just learning to run as a team.”
Baird singled out classmates Canaday and David Krause, whose 45th-place finish overall (26:02) was the first top-5 team finish of his career.
“I think Sage Canaday had another great race,” he said. “He’s been a model of consistency throughout the season – Krause ran a great race too.”
Junior Rick Lader placed 21st (25:41), just ahead of sophomore Jimmy Wyner, who crossed the finish line 24th (25:45). Next was Krause, followed by rookie Zac Hine in 63rd (26:17) and Dan Gorman (129th, 27:10).
Juniors David Shenk (159th, 28:03) and Steven Bakke (29:12) competed, but did not score for the Red.
Archived article by Josh Perlin
Sun Staff Writer