By JOHN McGRORTY
On Friday, the Cornell men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in their last regular season meet: the Reif Memorial Run. Both teams had the opportunity to finish out their regular season on a high note and to continue to develop going into the championship portion of the season.
“The Reif meet went really great. I am not surprised how fast they ran, but it was really terrific to see their huge improvements across the board,” assistant coach Artie Smith said. “We ran there the first week of the season verses Army, and people have significantly improved since then. This past weekend, we had people going a full minute faster. This shows how much progress we have made this season.”
The Red succeeded despite facing increment weather, according to Smith.
“It wasn’t even a very nice day, but people ran very very well,” he said. “We lined up 28 women in the race, our largest we have ever run, which was phenomenal. Furthermore, [junior] Corey Dowe won the race with a time of 17:40.6, 42 seconds faster then her season opener and the second fastest time we have ever seen run this course.”
The Reif Memorial Run gave the Red the opportunity to try out different approaches and to get one last run in as a team prior to the championship season. The Red utilized this run in order to close the regular season out in a positive way and carry the momentum forward.
This weekend, the men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete at the Heptagonal Championships at Princeton University. The Heptagonal Championships are considered to be the premier championship meet for the Ivy League. Both teams say they are geared up and ready for the meet.
“We feel extremely well prepared going into Princeton,” Smith said. “We feel as well prepared as any groups we have had recently, which is very good. We have had a strong focus all year on one thing — being ready for November.”
On both sides, the Heptagonal Championships — commonly known as the Heps — will be an extremely competitive and fast paced race. For the women, this race will include three Top-30 nationally ranked teams. The Cornell women, ranked No. 24 in the nation, will go up against No. 23 Princeton and No. 11 Dartmouth. Harvard will also once again try to make a push back into the Top-30. On the men’s side, this race will be extremely competitive. The men must contend with the best teams in the Ivy League. This championship meet gives a well rested and refined men’s team the opportunity to show its ability to contend with and beat the best in the league.
This women’s team’s intense focus will be crucial in its attempt to win the Heptagonal Championships. The runners are looking forward to the tough competition and the smaller field will work to the Red’s advantage, according to Smith.
“This race will have a slightly smaller field size which works to our strengths. Our group is particularly good at racing head to head. Our runners are excited to be going head to head with peers from other Ivy League schools,” he said. “This field size will be a great strength for us. We are confident, healthy and very well prepared going into the Heptagonal Championships.”
The Red looks to continue to have high levels of success throughout the championship season. The competition will be stiff, but the Red says it is prepared and determined.
Photo: Connor Archard / Sun Senior PhotographerJunior Corey Dowe won her race in 17:40.6, the second fastest time the course has been run.