This weekend will require a full effort from every member of the cross country teams, as the two squads will split up to compete at three different meets.
The Top-8 men will travel to Princeton to compete in the Princeton Invitational on Saturday. It will be a chance for the team to preview the course before running it once more in three weeks at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships.
“It should be a pretty competitive meet,” said senior captain Chandler Kemp. “It’ll be a good challenge and a chance to see what the course is like … and it’s another opportunity to get another good race under our belts before Heps.”
The meet will be the last chance that most of the team will have to compete before attending the Ivy League Championships. The team had two weeks off from competing since its last meet.
“The two weeks between meets gives us an opportunity to run more challenging workouts, get in more miles, and benefits us down the line,” Kemp said. “The races become more exciting and we get more geared up for them because we don’t race every week. We’re all excited to run, maybe even antsy.”
The rest of the men’s team will travel to Rochester to compete in the Yellow Jacket Invitational.
“The course is fairly fast, a lot of our guys should be close to the front of that race,” Kemp said.
The meet will also be the last chance for some of the team to race this season and prove that they deserve a place with the top runners that will travel to the Ivy League Championships.
“We take 12 to Heps,” Kemp said. “[Who goes] is determined by this meet and the following home meet.”
Overall, the weekend will be a chance for the runners to show that they can compete, both to themselves and to their opponents.
“We’re really excited to get an opportunity to see what the course is like and to get a strong race in before Heps,” Kemp said. “We need to prove, even to ourselves, that we can be competitive in the Ivy League.”
The women’s team will also split this weekend, taking their Top-9 athletes to the Pre-National Invitational at Indiana State to race on Sunday.
“The course is the site of the national championships,” said women’s assistant coach Artie Smith. “It’s been the site for several years, and [this meet] is designed for teams to preview the course for the meet six weeks later. It’s also a chance for us to run against very good teams.”
The women expect to face tough competition, as three of the Top-5 teams in the nation are expected to attend the meet as well. Yet with the high expectations the team has for itself this season, facing difficult competition at this point in the season will only help to improve their times.
“We had high level competition two weeks ago, and have been really consistent with training,” Smith said. “People on our team are feeling confident about this weekend as well.”
The last time the women competed was two weeks ago, at a high calibre meet at Lehigh. The team finished successfully, placing seventh out of 45 teams and beating some of the top squads in the nation.
“The best competition is still in front of us,” Smith said. “The top nine that are going are the top nine from the last meet, they have separated themselves so far from the rest of the group. We want to seek out a more competitive race, and we’re previewing a course we will hopefully be at later in the year.”
Qualification for nationals is done by each individual runner. Last year Devin McMahon was the only member of the team to travel out to the Indiana course to compete. This year Cornell expects to have a stronger showing at the national level. In particular, juniors Genna Hartung and Katie Kellner are so far having very successful seasons, and have shown that they are ready to compete with some of the best runners in the country.
The rest of the team will travel to Rochester on Saturday to run against several competitive Division III teams and other squads from Canada.
“Cornell will be represented by competitive runners at both places,” Smith said. “We have a very deep group, and some of those in Rochester will be helping us when it comes time for Heps. So many people on the team are committed to being successful.”
Original Author: Rebecca Velez