September 20, 2007

Men's Cross Country Excited About Its Prospects in 2007

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The men’s cross country team will attempt to fulfill its lofty expectations as one of the top teams in the Ivy League this season. With many of the team’s best runners returning from last year’s squad, the Red looks forward to what should be a very strong season.
“We are looking to have one of the best teams we ever had in the last five or 10 years. On paper we look really good,” said senior co-captain Sage Canaday.
“We’ve got pretty good depth with runners like [senior co-captain] Jimmy Wyner, [juniors] Zach Hine and Sam Luff and [sophomore] Charlie Hatch. And our talent is spread out throughout the class.”
Wyner and Canaday are the two leaders and captains of the Cornell cross-country team this year for good reason. Both recently qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials. Canaday qualified during the 2007 Grandma’s Marathon with a time of 2:21:43. Wyner also qualified in the 1500.
Freshman Matt Kasak described the impact of having such qualified runners as captains on the team.
“It’s a very humbling experience,” he said. “Coming from high school, I was considered the best in my area. It’s really humbling to see Sage or Jimmy, who qualified for the Olympics, how good they are compared to my own level. Seeing their dedication, I just want to work to one day be like them.”
Beyond Canaday and Wyner, however, the rest of squad looks to fulfill its respective roles on the team. These runners include junior Zachary Hine — who recently finished third in a dual meet against Army on Sept. 8 — as well as Hatch, Luff, sophomore Owen Kimple and senior David Krause.
“I would like to see the team keep progressing,” Canday said. “I would like the team to keep moving up in the Ivy League. We would like to be one of the top teams in the Ivy League.”
With the 2007 schedule including top events such as the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 28, the Red should be challenged throughout the season. However, the team’s focus lies mainly in its health and making sure not to overlook any one race.
The general focus is the Hep­tagonal championships, which pits the Red against its seven Ivy League opponents.
Last year, Cornell finished fifth with Wyner, Canaday, Hine and Hatch taking home top-5 finishes.
Wyner was Cornell’s top runner, finishing second overall with a time of 24:32.0. Canaday did not fare as well, however, finishing 12th place with a time of 25:04:01, a time he will certainly try to improve upon this year.
Coaching will also be a big factor on this year’s squad, with long-time head coach Nathan Taylor leading the way while assistant coach Robert Johnson enters his fifth year working with the team.
“It takes time to get used to coaching,” Taylor said. “Robert has been very successful at being able to improve everyone on the team, which is something a lot of coaches don’t do.”