November 14, 2008

Men, Women Look to Outperform Rankings

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After a two week layoff, the cross country postseason continues for the Red. After finishing third and fourth, respectively, at Heps, the men’s and women’s cross country teams will return to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx for the NCAA Division I Northeast Regional.
Seven members of each squad will compete at the meet. The top five scores for each team count and the top-2 teams automatically qualify for the NCAA National Championships. The NCAA also awards at-large bids, usually to no more than two teams from the Northeast Region.
The Cornell men will need a top-2 finish to ensure a spot at Nationals, while the women have a good chance of qualifying if they can crack the top-3. The top-4 individual runners in each region who are not on a qualifying team also earn spots at Nationals. [img_assist|nid=33593|title=Time to kick|desc=The women’s team fared well during the Rief Memorial Run on Oct. 24. This week, the men’s and women’s top-7 will compete in Regionals.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
For the Red, the seven runners who will compete are seniors Zach Hine, Sam Luff and Andy Millers, junior Pete Loy and sophomores Adrien Dannemiller, Nate Edelman and Hassan Shalla. Hine and Dannemiller have been the team’s strongest performers all season and should lead the way for Cornell. The men’s race is 10,000-meters, 2,000 more than most of their races during the season.
“If you look at it on paper, based on performance, we’re probably ranked number four in the region right now,” Edelman said. “But I think we’re a better 10k team than an 8k team. If we have five people put together good races, we have a chance to be top–2. “
The top 25 runners earn “all-region” recognition and Edelman cited that as a personal goal. Last season, Sage Canaday ’08 was all-region and also qualified individually for Nationals. He was the only Cornellian to compete.
The women’s bracket of the Northeast region often produces more at-large bid than the men’s half, so if the Red can beat out any of the expected top-3 teams, they will have a great shot to qualify for Nationals. The aforementioned three teams are Providence, Stony Brook, and Boston College. Cornell, Columbia and Syracuse are the other teams with the best chance of cracking the top-3.
“Based on what we’ve done coming into this, I would say that [our chances of qualifying] are remote, but that’s why you run the race,” said women’s coach Lou Duesing. “You never know what’s going to happen.”
The seven participants for the women are seniors Fiona Cundy, Aeriel Emig, Marie Parks and Danielle Schaub, junior Stephanie Pancoast, sophomore Maura Carroll,and freshman Meghan Brown.
“I feel like this year, we’re a lot stronger than we were last year,” Pancoast said. “In order to do well, we have to have a really good race. Everyone has to run really competitively.”
Parks and Pancoast have been the two most consistent runners for the women this season and the team’s success will be largely dependent on their ability to end amongst the top finishers.
“We need to hit on all cylinders,” Duesing said. “To date, we have not done that. It would be nice if we could break out of that habit.”