September 11, 2011

X-COUNTRY | Men, Women Adapt to ‘Curve Ball’ at Moakley

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Despite a few late changes to the course, the Cornell men’s and women’s cross country teams claimed their first victories of the season this weekend in three-team meets against Army and Binghamton.

The runners were forced to handle an alteration in Cornell’s regular home course, due to the downpours of last week. Instead of including a trail down into one of Ithaca’s gorges, the track was extended by about a 50 meter loop.

“I thought they handled the curve ball of the course really well,” said women’s assistant coach Artie Smith. “[The course] was longer, the footing was really, really poor … very wet, very soggy. The times they ran more than made up for the difficult parts … the part we took out, the gorge, is the hardest part of the course, but because it was longer and footing was bad, I thought the times we put up were remarkable.”

The women’s team scored a perfect 15 points, taking the Top-5 finishing places. Juniors Katie Kellner and Genna Hartung lead the pack, with sophomore Emmy Shearer coming in third. Kellner registerd a time of 17:56.8 for a slightly longer version of the usual 5000 meter race.

“When I ran the course as a freshman, I went out really fast and lost it at the end,” Kellner said. “This year I was told to be more relaxed and finish strong. [Genna Hartung] has the course record. The race was very similar to freshman year … we ran together, she won as a freshman and I won this year.”

“Katie and Genna have been on a mission ever since they got back to school and training, and they’re in a good place right now to accomplish the goals that they set for themselves,” Smith added. “They’ve done a terrific job. In terms of what you hope for in a first meet, it was definitely mission accomplished.”

The men’s squad scored 20 points, claiming four of the five top places in its meet. Sophomore Max Groves placed first in the slightly extended five-mile course in 26:23.8.

“We wanted to run as a team for about the first three miles, keep everybody in sight … and then try and push the last mile and see if we could take them,” Groves said. “As a team it went perfectly. We had a group of four in the top five…definitely what we were looking for.”

Senior Chandler Kemp beat out the third place Army runner in the last few meters of the race, finishing with a time of 26:27.2.

“I was running with Chandler, Gabe Heck and Brett Kelly until the last mile, with one army runner up there,” Groves said. “In the last 500 meters I was neck and neck with the army guy, but took the lead from there, and the Chandler was able to get him as well towards finish line.”

Gabe Heck and Brett Kelly finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

“It was definitely a good performance,” Groves said. “We’re looking to get a couple more guys in the top group, and working to get six or seven in a tight pack so we can do well in team scoring.”

The Red’s next meet will be at Colgate this weekend, where Cornell will face rival Syracuse for the first time this season.

Original Author: Rebecca Velez