October 19, 2010

Women’s Cross Country Seeks Heps Improvement

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Over the weekend the top 17 runners on the Cornell women’s cross country team traveled to Penn State to compete in the National Invitational. Besides a small home meet, this race concluded the regular season as Heps, NCAA Regionals and NCAA Nationals begin. As head coach Lou Duesing said, “The bulk of the season time wise is behind us but what we work for is to be ready for the championship part of the season and that lies ahead.”

According to Duesing, the women “did a great job over the summer getting themselves prepared, so coming in, they have been able to start off at a better spot.”

Senior captain Maura Carroll echoed this sentiment: “The workouts are definitely a lot harder this year … it’s more intense than last year and the year before.”

The loss of several graduated seniors makes this a young team. The top five in 2010 are comprised of one freshman and four sophomores. Compared to last year, however, the team is more experienced. Last year, three of the top five runners were freshmen, and this year they are all sophomores. The team is also much deeper.

Duesing explained that the top eight or nine runners have been very solid this season, whereas last year only the top five runners were extremely consistent.

The Red’s season began with a victory against Army. Although the team competed very well, the dual race did little to indicate Cornell’s readiness. The Red’s second race was at Colgate, where it finished second to No. 10 Syracuse.  Two weeks later, the team traveled to Lehigh and ran in the Paul Short Invitational. Out of 41 teams, Cornell placed fourth to nationally-ranked schools.

“We beat Columbia, Brown, Penn and Dartmouth. It was nice to see our Ivy competition and run well against them. … It was a competitive field and we were very competitive in that race,” Duesing said.

The team will compete against other Ivies at Heps and move on to NCAA Regionals, and hopefully NCAA Nationals.

Although the team is excited for NCAA Regionals and potentially Nationals, “We are focusing on Heps right now,” Carroll said.

Last year, the team placed fourth at Heps, which was disappointing because only the top three teams are recognized.

“I definitely think we are better than we were last year,” Duesing said.

The women on the team believe the same thing.

“We should podium at Heps,” Carroll said. “We should get top three.”

Original Author: Karen Schillinger