September 12, 2011

X-COUNTRY | Expectations High for Colgate Invite After Moakley Win

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Cornell’s cross country team got off to a fast start this season after its first meet last weekend against Army and Binghamton. The men’s team came out on top with a leading score of 20 resulting from four players finishing in the Top-5 at the Moakley Course. On the same track, the women’s team swept the meet with finishers in all of the Top-7 spots. Thrilled with the results, the Red is continuing to work hard as it prepares for Saturday’s Colgate Invitational.

The upcoming meet promises to pose a challenge. Last season the Red defeated Colgate at its invitational, but fell behind Syracuse — a team that is currently ranked No. 15 in the country. Colgate and Syracuse already faced one another earlier this season in the Harry Lang Invitational, with the Orange taking first place and the Raiders coming in second.

“It’s going to be a very different meet … it will be a lot more competitive, [and] I expect the race to go out a lot faster and everybody to run a lot faster times,” said men’s senior captain Chandler Kemp.

“We expect the level of competition to be higher this weekend,” added women’s assistant coach Artie Smith.

The Red, however, is fully prepared to take on whatever challenges lie ahead. Smith noted that he is incredibly pleased with the effort the team put into summer training — an important part of making sure runners are fit and ready for the season. Since the Red competed in the Colgate Invitational last year, all of the returners will be familiar with the course.

“In cross country familiarity is important,” Smith noted.

Senior women’s captain Meghan Brown is confident that the team will take the Colgate Invitational in stride.

“It’s nice to have these smaller meets at the beginning of the season just so we can get back into the habit of racing, learn where we are in the season [and] where we are fitness-wise before we get into the big invites,” she said.

Although the cross country team is currently in a strong position, the squad still has a few goals that still need to be accomplished. Smith is looking forward to seeing improvement in how the team runs, rather than just focusing on time. Although there has only been one meet, the Red is already showing its ability to excel on the course.

“Now it’s a matter of translating that into how they race,” Smith said.

According to Kemp, the men’s team is focusing on having a good group of runners in the front of every race, while Brown noted that the women’s team is looking to make sure all of its best runners are in top form. In general, both teams are focused on individual improvement rather than overall results.

“I expect people to give their very best and keep improving,” Smith said.

Overall, the Red is shaping up to be a dominating force in cross country this season. Both the men’s and the women’s teams are hoping to stay in the groove that they have already established.

“We’re really comfortable with where we are right now … really happy, actually, with where we are right now,” Brown said. “This early in the season to see people in this great of shape … it’s just really, really encouraging.”

Original Author: Ariel Cooper