September 28, 2007

Harriers Start Big Meets

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The men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled across state lines yesterday to compete in two major competitions later today. The men flew out of Syracuse early yesterday morning, destined for Notre Dame, while the women drove to Lehigh in Pennsylvania for the Paul Short Invitational.
With smaller, early season meets behind both teams, the heart of each squad’s schedule opens on the road against many nationally ranked programs.
Men’s senior co-captain, Sage Canaday, who has run 1,200 miles in the past 12 weeks, brought his mileage down to 80 this week to rest for a race with national implications.
“If we do really well, we could be nationally ranked,” Canaday said. “We could beat some big teams.”
Providence, ranked 11th nationally, is a team that the Red looks forward to matching up with. The Friars belong to the Northeast Region, same as Cornell, and are one of the teams vying for a spot in the NCAA championships in November.
Canaday liked the vibe coming from the team before they flew out to Indiana.
“Everyone seems pretty confident,” he said. “We’ve been running some good workouts. We’re ready to run fast and see how we stack up against nationally ranked teams. People are excited about it.”
By virtue of their stellar performances last weekend at the Iona Meet of Champions, the Red’s top-7 runners will be joined by junior Andy Miller and sophomore Kyle Wolpert.
But before the men even take the course, though, the women hear the starting gun at the Paul Short Invitational with their own aspirations. Fresh off a terrific second place finish in last week’s 19-team field at Van Cortlandt Park, the women realize the importance of each meet builds every week.
Junior Katie Roll, a top-5 team scorer, has spent months ensuring her and her teammates train doggedly for the opportunities that begin with today’s gun.
“It’s going to be the biggest meet that we’ve run this season,” Roll said. “This meet is more competitive. It’s a faster course and there are going to be more teams.”
Teams like Texas Tech — home to last year’s national champion Sally Kipyego — and Ivy League foe, Princeton, ranked 13th in the country, are among this year’s 47-team field.
Emerging standout, freshman Kimberly Standridge, agrees that today’s invitational represents a marked step up in competition, but thinks if the Red runs like it has so far, things should be fine.
“If we do it like we did the past two weekends at the home meet and at Iona, we’ll be just fine,” Standridge said.