October 29, 2007

Men’s XC Places Second at Heps

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The top-12 runners from the men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to New York City this past Friday to compete in the Heps championships. The Heps, which took place at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, featured teams from each school in the Ancient Eight. While the Cornell men walked away pleased with a second-place finish and the team’s top preformance since 1993, the women returned home with dashed expectations after finishing seventh.
The men ran a collectively impressive race, scoring 67 points and was led by senior co-captain Sage Cannaday. The captain finished tops among Cornell runners and second overall with a time of 24:46.1. He was followed by junior Zac Hine (24:55.9) and senior co-captain Jimmy Wynner (25:06.2), who finished eighth and 10th overall, respectively.
“Honestly, we were really happy getting second,” Canaday said.
The race this past weekend was the best performance the mens team has seen since 1993, with most of the Red also establishing personal records for the course.
“Overall, this is the best Cornell team ever in terms of the times we ran,” Canaday said.
According to Canaday, summer training and continuous hard effort throughout the season are directly linked to the teams’ success at the Heps.
“I think we trained a lot better than other teams in the league,” he added.
Established talent also propelled the team to success, with freshman Adrien Dannemiller finishing fourth for the Red this past weekend.
Canday noted that one of the reasons for his success was that he ran the race using a different strategy than usual after being approached by men’s coach Robert Johnson before the race. Johnson convinced him to stay back in the beginning and that he could pass people at the end of the race, instead of running ahead of the group from the start.
“Going into the meet, I wasn’t even favored to finish in the top-3,” he said.
The women were less successful this weekend than the men, finishing in seventh place with 138 points followed by the last place team from Dartmouth.
Crossing the finish line first for Cornell was sophomore Stephanie Pancoast, who’s been a leading scorer for the Red all season. She finished 17th overall with a time of 18:06.3. Coming in behind her was freshman Kate Sullivan and junior Marie Parks, who finished 21st and 26th, respectively.
While the Red knew going into the race that Princeton was favored to win the championship, many runners also felt that six teams were on a pretty equal slate vying for the other spots.
“Going in we saw us as one of those six, but we really weren’t,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “People weren’t happy with how things went.”
While the Red wasn’t happy with its performance as a team, a couple of the girls on the team performed well individually. Duesing mentioned noteworthy performances from Pancoast and some of the newer members on the team, including sophomore Caroline Schultz .
“I think [Schultz] had a very good race given her limited experience,” Duesing said. “Two of the four [freshmen] ran pretty well. I think the other two were disappointed. I think they were a little disappointed because they expected more from themselves.”
Duesing said he is unsure of what caused the team’s sub-par performance, and mentioned that the teams finishing ahead of them aren’t necessarily stronger teams.
“I think that people just didn’t do a very good job getting themselves in a good position early on in the race,” he said. “I think everyone needs to look at what they expected coming in and think about what they did or didn’t do with that opportunity.”