October 19, 2007

Harrier Squads Compete at Home

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This weekend, the men’s and women’s cross country teams get a rest from traveling as they compete in their second home meets of the season. The Red will host the John Reif Memorial Run at the Moakley Course this afternoon, which will feature their less experienced and younger runners.
The Memorial Run is held annually to honor John Reif ’86, who was a member of the cross country and track teams during his time at Cornell. Reif died in 1987 while training for a triathlon.
“He had always been a contributing member of the team and loved cross country,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “[The race is] part of the tradition we have at Cornell.”
Today’s race is a small, local meet with SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College participating. This meet also marks the last race of the regular season for the Red before the Heptagonal championships next week. As a result, top runners from Cornell traditionally sit out the race in preparation for next week and cheer on their teammates.
“When you get to championship season, running three weeks in a row is not a good formula,” Duesing said.
While the top-12 women running in the championships next week have already been determined, there are only 11 men sitting out today’s race, leaving one spot open.
Besides being another opportunity for the younger runners to get in meet before the season ends, the top finisher from today’s memorial run will earn a place on the men’s team competing in the Heps next weekend.
“The winner of the race I’m taking to conference, I don’t care who it is,” said men’s coach Rob Johnson. “There’s a lot of motivation to do well.”
A few runners on the men’s team have shown potential to lead the Red this afternoon. Among them is senior Mike Smayda, who has spent most of his career at Cornell on the track team running the 800-meter. Although Johnson remarked that five miles is a long race for Smayda, he also noted that Smayda is in “amazing shape,” having logged near 100 miles a week during the summer. Sophomore Peter Loy is also one of the most promising runners in the race, having finished third for the Red and 44th overall last weekend at Penn State.
“There are a number of guys that could win that race,” Johnson said.