August 29, 2010

Cross Country Squads Prepare for Promising Fall

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“Perennial contenders” is a title usually reserved for Cornell’s celebrated men’s lacrosse and men’s hockey teams. But with three straight podium finishes at Heptagonals for head coach Robert Johnson’s men’s team, and four ECAC championships for the women under Lou Duesing, Cornell’s cross country squads have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in both Ivy League and NCAA competition.  Despite the graduation of No. 1 runner and team MVP Stephanie Pancoast, the core of the women’s top seven remains intact. Sophomore Genna Hartung, winner of the Lou Montgomery Most Valuable Freshman Award last year, will contend for the team’s vacant No. 1 slot, as will sophomore Kelsey Karys, who finished third on the team and 29th overall at 2009 NCAA Regionals. Sophomore Katie Kellner, junior Meghan Brown and senior Maura Carroll round out the team’s returning top seven runners. Carroll will also captain the Cornell women this year. The Red will also be adding a plethora of new freshmen, including All-American steeplechase champion Rachel Sorna and 2008 Palo Alto Champion Lisa Fawcett. On the men’s side, senior Nate Edelman is the Red’s fastest runner. Edelman contended for first place at the 2009 Heps (ultimately finishing fourth) and represented Cornell at the NCAA National Championships. Edelman also earned First-team All-Ivy honors. Senior Matt DaSilva, Cornell’s 2009 No. 2 runner, will be returning as well; DaSilva, a Second-team All-Ivy runner, finished the five-mile Heps course in an impressive 25:50 last year. But while the Red’s first and second runner will be returning, a trio of seniors –– Charlie Hatch, Joel Frosh-Tift and Dale Taylor –– have all departed, leaving Cornell’s remaining top five spots up for the taking. Senior Adrien Dannemiller, who qualified for Nationals in last year’s steeplechase, is expected to step up. In addition, according to Edelman, incoming recruits will likely provide a boost: “In terms of newcomers, we have four freshmen and one transfer on the roster. It’s hard at this time to point to one of them as ‘the guy’ who will make a difference, but they all have clearly put in the work over the summer and look strong.” Also, “this year’s team is very deep, and any of the 23 guys on the roster could step up and contribute,” Edelman said. Both the women and men’s teams are still in the building stages of their training, ultimately seeking to peak at Heps and NCAA Regionals. That said, encouraging results in the early stages will lead to larger payoffs at season’s end.   “Even just being a few practices into the season I’m already very impressed by how well everyone is running,” Hartung said. ”We have a lot of very good freshmen coming in and the returning runners are in the best shape we’ve ever been in. … The workouts we have done so far have been extraordinary and that’s very exciting this early in the season. I think that we have a team primed to place high in even our most competitive meets.”

Original Author: Nathan Lowry