By JEFFREY ASIEDU
Cornell’s men’s cross country team brought 10 of their best runners down to Boston on Friday for a major early season showdown, the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown. Although it was only the second meet of the season, the Red were competing that they were up against multiple potential late season national championship contenders, and put on a great performance to win the fourth spot in the meet out of 21 schools.
Senior runner Ben Rainero, who ran a blazing 24:04.0 8K race to take the fifth spot individually, led the Red.
“[Ben Rainero] was leading the race or in the front pack the first four, four and half miles,” said Cornell head coach Zebulon Lang. “The four guys who finished ahead of him are all all-Americans or close to All-Americans, so this shows that he’s performing at a high level. It was a standout performance for sure.”
Senior captain Connor Herr was another runner who had a strong performance, finishing the race in 24:17.0 to earn 11th place. Dominic DeLuca, Brian Eimstad, Josh Dyrland and other runners contributed valuable runs to earn Cornell’s spot in the top five.
Even with an overall strong team showing, neither Lang nor Herr said they were surprised.
“I was happy with both my performance and the team’s performance this weekend,” Herr said. “I wouldn’t say we exceeded our expectations though. We have very high aspirations this year, I would say this race was a good start and a good indicator of things to come.”
Cornell’s men’s cross country has traditionally been a strong contender whenever the team takes a trip down to Boston for the Battle in Beantown.The Red has managed to place in the top half of teams competing and this year the team achieved a top-five spot.
Other schools with strong showings included Syracuse, Purdue and one of Cornell’s inter-conference rivals, Dartmouth.
The Green was the only Ivy League school to perform better than the Red in Boston, but the Cornell squad maintained its confidence in its potential Ivy League dominance.
“Dartmouth had a very strong showing this weekend, but I still believe that we are the better team,” Herr said. “I believe we are positioning ourselves very well to perform best at the end of the season.”
Schools will certainly be looking out for Cornell’s runners at meets this year; the next meet for the team is on Oct. 17 at the Canisius Classic Invitational in Buffalo, New York. Early into the season, it’s shaping up to be a big year for the Red and the team has high ambitions.
“An Ivy League Championship would be fantastic,” Herr said, “but it’s only a stepping stone to our ultimate goal of making to the NCAA national meet.”
Lang said he is hopeful for the team’s long-term prospects and will keep working with his runners to enter the national champion conversation.
“I still think we have a lot of work to do to break into the Top-30, national class where we should be,” Lang said. “We feel like we’re still in the first half here and we’re looking to improve and make a stronger statement in the second half.”