September 19, 2008

Women’s Cross Country Tries To Continue Early Momentum

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The women’s cross country team will travel to Van Cortlandt Park in New York City for tomorrow morning’s 6K race at the Iona Meet of Champions. This meet will bring together over 20 teams from several different conferences throughout the United States.
“From the standpoint of preparation, we’re doing exactly what we want to do at this point in terms of practices,” said head coach Lou Duesing. “Any early-season meet like that is part of the competition, but also part of the preparation.”
[img_assist|nid=31928|title=Keep moving on|desc=Sophomore Kristen Sellers pushes uphill during the Rief Memorial Run on Oct. 19, 2007.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
After winning its first dual meet last Friday, the Red is utilizing this opportunity to set goals for the rest of the season. Cornell was recently ranked fifth in the Northeast Region by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Friday’s individual performances provide a promising outlook, as several of the Red’s times were under those of past high-achieving Cornell runners.
“Two years ago, we had three people in the top-10 at the Heps and they were second, third and tenth,” Duesing said. “Our fourth-place person on Friday was ahead of all of their times, and it’s the same course.”
Friday’s race also demonstrated the wide range of contributors on the Red. The top runners were from a distribution across classes, with junior Stephanie Pancoast taking first place, and seniors Marie Parks and Fiona Cundy close behind. In addition, six of the top-10 finishers were freshmen and sophomores.
Tomorrow’s meet at Van Cortlandt Park will be a chance for the freshmen to get even more experience by running against a large group of competitors and on an even more challenging course.
Additionally, tomorrow’s challenge will be a test of where Cornell stands against teams from all over the country. The squad will be competing against regional rivals including host Iona, as well as Ivy League foes Brown, Dartmouth and Harvard. The meet will also include the perennially competitive Boston College, Providence College and Penn St., which is ranked fifth in its region.
“Both Boston College and Providence College are two of the top teams in our region through the years,” Duesing said. “It’s going to be nice to see how, at least at this stage, in the process we’re doing competing against them.”
The Red will look to its returning runners to lead the team again this year. Of the 10 best returning runners from last year’s Meet of Champions, Cornell boasts the most with four — seniors Aeriel Emig, Katie Roll and Marie Parks and junior Stephanie Pancoast.
After its first win, senior Fiona Cundy said it is important for the Red to maintain its focus as it comes up against harsher competition.
“All of us reached really well [last week] because we were all relaxed,” Cundy said. “If we’re going to have the same mentality in this race, and kind of do our own thing and don’t get distracted by the size of the race, then it should go pretty well.”