October 12, 2007

Two Days of Travel for Red

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The men’s and women’s cross country teams are looking at a full weekend of races, starting this morning with both teams competing at the Penn State National Invitational. Tomorrow, the women will race again in nearby Rochester while top runners from the men’s team will compete the same morning farther away in Indianapolis.
The men’s team has 11 of its younger runners currently at Penn State for the Penn State National Invitational on the University Park campus. Today’s invitational will give some of the newer and less experienced runners on the team a chance to shine.
“[The meet is a] good opportunity for the younger guys to be scorers on the team,” said assistant head coach Rob Johnson. Johnson also remarked that many of the younger runners run better when they have an opportunity to finish in higher places.
“They’re representing Cornell, but also running for the final five spots on the conference team,” Johnson said.
The women’s team sent its top-10 runners to Penn State to compete today. The meet will be highly competitive for the women, who are up against many nationally ranked teams from around the country.
Despite the hard competition, women’s head coach Lou Duesing says that the Red is excited about the chance to compete against such nationally strong teams. However, he also stressed that his main focus is on each runner performing to the best of her own individual ability.
“My expectations never change, regardless of the meet,” Duesing said.
Duesing believes that if each runner can focus more on her own performance, each person will run better.
“It’s going to be a lot of bodies, and it’s going to be a fast race,” Duesing said. “People are going to have to adjust and run their own race.”
And even though he realizes that the team’s performance is entirely under control, Duesing knows it won’t be the only factor.
“The course, competition and weather are going to be the real challenges,” he said.
The following day, the top-7 runners from the men’s team will compete in the Pre-national Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind. Tomorrow morning’s 8000-meter race is divided into two heats, with the first race starting at 11 a.m. With 79 teams attending, including 26 of the nation’s top teams, the Invitational promises to be tough competition for the Red.
“The biggest hurdle for us as a team will be the competition,” Johnson said.
The top-6 Cornell runners from the Notre Dame Invitational earlier this season are set to travel to Indianapolis. Sophomore Charlie Hatch and freshman Adrien Dannemiller will be competing in their home state.
Hatch, who became ill during the Notre Dame Invitational, will be joining the top Cornell runners from the Notre Dame Invitational. Hatch has finished in the top-5 at every meet he’s run in so far with the exception of Notre Dame.
“I’m confident in Hatch,” said senior co-captain Sage Canaday. “He’s a very solid, talented runner.”
Mentioning that Hatch likes to run his own race, Johnson also pointed out his talent late in races.
“Charlie really likes to come from behind,” Johnsons said. He also noted that Hatch has the potential to pass a large number of players in the last stretch of the race.
Canaday said that going to Pre-Nationals is a good experience for the younger players on the team, although the main focus is simply running well.
“Our main goal is to try to get points,” Canaday said.
These points could possibly qualify the men’s team for Nationals later on in November after the regional meet.
Canaday has optimistic hopes for both himself and the team this weekend, personally hoping to finish in the top-20.
To succeed on Saturday, Johnson said that the top runners will have to perform better than they did at Notre Dame.
“For us to do well as a team, we’ll need our top-5 to run a good race,” Johnson said. “If you run hard all five miles, you’re going to do well.”
The women’s team will also be competing tomorrow morning as it sends the rest of the team that didn’t compete at Penn today to run in the University of Rochester Yellowjacket Invitational.