November 8, 2007

XC Heads to Boston for NCAA Regionals

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The men’s and women’s cross country teams spring back into action this weekend in Boston. As one of the last meets of the season, the NCAA Regional championships will prove to be a competitive race for both teams.
The men’s team is going into the meet this weekend riding off an excellent season and a second place finish at the Heps two weekends ago. The Red will be running its top-7 runners from that meet on Saturday.
“As a team, we want to prove we’re one of the top teams in the Northeast,” said men’s assistant coach Robert Johnson. “We’re currently ranked fourth; we’d like to finish at least that high.”
The team is currently ranked No. 4 in the region, just behind No. 3 ranked Syracuse. Amid a pool of 35 teams, the Red hopes to beat the same squads it beat at Heps, as well as be competitive with Syracuse. According to Johnson, Iona and Providence, ranked No. 4 and No. 18, respectively, in the nation, will be the top finishers in the meet.
“We’ve had a very good season to date,” Johnson said. “I think we’re very competitive.”
This weekend’s meet also offers the chance for runners to qualify individually for the NCAA championships.
“For us to make it as a team is really unlikely,” Johnson said.
Johnson mentioned that senior co-captains Sage Canaday and Jimmy Wyner and junior Zach Hine could all possibly qualify, depending on their individual performances and the performance of Syracuse.
If Syracuse qualifies as a team, then that gives the Red’s runners a better chance to qualify individually. Canaday, who recently competed in the Olympic Marathon Trials but only ran part of the race, is particularly set on that goal.
“He’s really focused on making nationals,” Johnson said.
Most of all, the Red hopes to continue to perform as well as it has all season.
“My top guys have to get up there with Syracuse,” said Johnson. “They just have to go out and run well.”
Unlike the men’s team, the women are going into the meet this weekend following a disappointing performance at Heps.
“We don’t feel that our performance at Heps is indicative of where we are,” said head coach Lou Duessing.
The team is hoping that its performance this weekend will be more representative of how competitive the team feels it is this season. Duesing noted that the women have been reflecting on their performance and what they learned from Heps. The Red will be taking its top-7 runners from Heps this weekend, and Duesing stressed that the team will continue to run the best it can.
This meet will also likely be thr team’s second to last of the season. When asked if the squad is looking to qualify for nationals, Duessing stressed that nationals is a distraction and at the back of the his mind.
“I’m not worried about it or even thinking about it,” he said.
For the meantime, the Red is just looking to perform well and prove its talent in an elite field.
“The meet will be very competitive, we usually run well in it and I hope we continue to do that,” Duesing said.