September 21, 2007

XC Teams Compete At Iona Meet in NYC

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After experiencing their first meets of the 2007 season, the men’s and women’s cross country teams will make adjustments for tomorrow’s Iona Meet of Champions in New York City.
“The first race was a little nerve-racking. I just had to get used to the difference in distance,” said freshman Max Kasak. “Now, I feel like I know more of what to expect. I feel more confident in myself. I’m still not on the same level as the seniors but I am learning.”
Many of the top runners for both the men’s and women’s team are skipping this meet in preparation for upcoming Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 28 in South Bend, Ind. On the men’s side, this includes the team’s top-seven runners, senior co-captains Sage Canaday and Jimmy Wyner, juniors Zach Hine and Sam Luff, sophomores Charlie Hatch and Owen Kimple and freshman Adrien Dannemiller. As a result, the Iona Meet of Champions is a perfect opportunity for the younger members of the men’s cross country team to show what they can do and how they compare to collegiate competition.
“We’re not running with our top seven,” Kasak said. “Our first meet was just running with the Army. This one is running with big boys. We have a chance to see individually how we stack up. It’s a pretty standard course, so it allows you to compare your time with other runners. You can gauge yourself. See how you run against great collegiate athletes.”
The women’s cross country has chosen a different strategy by having all of its runners compete at the event in order to get familiar with Van Cortlandt Park, the same course it will be running on at the Heps championships.
Women’s head coach Lou Duesing is interested in how his team can handle the competition, especially with other Ivy League teams participating in the meet.
“It’s only the second race but there is a lot to look forward to,” Duesing said. “Compared to our first meet against Army, it will be more competition with well over 200 runners. It will be nice to see the other three Ivy League teams running: Brown, Dartmouth and Harvard. I just want them to compete and give their best effort.”
Assistant coach Robert Johnson of the men’s squad is looking forward to how the players respond under pressure.
“ This will be good experience,” Johnson said. “What will be interesting is seeing how the runners respond to having team standing. Usually with 15 guys, they aren’t really concerned about team standings. This time, they know they are being counted on. It will interesting to see how they respond to that pressure.”
The Red will try to improve from its first meet by keeping focused and using teamwork.
“People are working together; the team understands to stay together and help each other out,” said junior Marie Parks. “In our training, we work out in different groups. People on the team know they can run with their groups and that they can stay with their group. Now since we got the first meet out of the way, people know who they can run with. It’s harder to keep on pace and keep focus in the middle of the race. We just need to keep each other focused.”