October 19, 2010

Men’s Cross Country Hopes to Peak at Heps

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Although the men’s cross country team is just two races into the 2010 season, only two weeks stand between the Red and Oct. 29’s Heps. While most of Cornell’s fall teams have numerous competitions or games under their belts at this stage in the season, the Red will enter the postseason with questions rather than answers based on the team’s performances at the Army and Paul Short races. After all, despite a comfortable margin of victory over West Point’s perennially competitive squad, Cornell fell to two Ivy league teams — Columbia and Dartmouth — at the Paul Short Invitational on Oct. 1.

However, due to the training cycles typical of distance running, the Red’s senior members are concerned less with results at this stage of the season, and more with quality of running in hard workouts and training.

“The meets so far have been a little less than what we would have hoped for, but we’ve had a pretty solid week of training and people are feeling really good moving into the championship races,” said senior Nate Edelman, who led Cornell at Paul Short with a 15th-place finish.

“We never like to lose to other Ivy league teams, but we’re pretty confident. … I think last year at Paul Short we lost to Dartmouth but beat them at Heps. We think we’re really good at timing our peaks right,” Edelman said.

The Red also points to other positive developments on a squad initially expected to be dominated by seniors and sophomores this year. Cornell has enjoyed freshman talent in the top seven, due to the strong performances of Gabe Heck and David Forward.

“Gabe Heck has been doing very well, especially for a freshman. He did well at Army and was top five at Paul Short … he’s exceeded expectations,” said sophomore team manager Kevin Johnson Jr., who led the Red freshmen last year and is recovering from season-ending surgery this fall.

In addition, Cornell will welcome the return of senior captain Matt Da Silva, who had been sidelined due to NCAA eligibility issues, as he is in his fifth year of cross country as a transfer from Purdue last season. Da Silva spent much of last year as the No. 2 runner behind Edelman.

The addition of Da Silva will also help to minimize the large spread between the 1-2 punch of Dannemiller and Edelman and the rest of the Red pack, by providing an experienced, proven runner able to lead a group and stick close to the other two seniors throughout races.

“The upperclassmen — Nate and Adrien — ran very well at Army and there was a gap between them [and the pack], but at the next race the gap was a lot smaller between them and the sophomore pack,” Johnson said.

Original Author: Nathan Lowry