The women’s cross country team finished first for the second year in a row in Saturday’s Yellowjacket Invitational. The Red dominated the field, placing seven runners in the top 10 and 13 in the top 25, an impressive feat, considering the field is around 400 women strong.
“The team did an amazing job working together at this meet,” said senior tri-captain Taylor Spillane. “We followed the race plan that Coach [Artie] Smith created for us and we made it happen together.”
Spillane finished first for the Red and second overall with a time of 21:27.9 on the six-kilometer course, 12 seconds behind Taryn Cordani of Ithaca College. Junior Jackie Katzman finished in third with a time of 21:28.6; sophomores Gracie Todd, Suzie Petryk and Briar Brumley finished in fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively; juniors Shannon Hugard and Erin McLaughlin finished eighth and ninth.
Finishing in such close quarters is a good sign in cross country races, as it shows the team is working well together, according to Spillane.
“This was very positive because our runners finished so close to each other and pushed each other to do our best,” Spillane said.
The Yellowjacket Invitational is always an important meet for the Red, as it allows the team to work on its tactics early in the season.
“There are approximately 400 women in this race so it allows our team to work on positioning early, settling in and being composed and then working the last section of the race in order to finish strong,” Spillane said.
Perfecting the team aspect of the sport will be essential for the Red as it starts to go up against more Ivy League opponents. The team finished fifth in last year’s Ivy League Heptagonal Championship and the women know they can improve. This year’s event is on Oct. 29.
Among Ivy opponents, the Red has only faced Princeton thus far, competing against the Tigers in the Harry Groves Invitational, in which Cornell finished second and Princeton finished eighth. The Red won Ivy Heps in 2011 and 2012 and hopes to repeat that success this season with a strong roster.
However, according to Spillane, it is essential that the Red take the year one meet at a time.
“Right now we are staying focused on the positives and continuing to work hard and focus on each day, each workout and each race as they come,” Spillane said.
The Red has a weekend off and then the squad heads to Bethlehem, Pa. for the Paul Short Run the weekend of Oct. 1.
Workouts will stay the same despite the break in the schedule.
“We will continue to workout as we would normally,” Spillane explained. “An off weekend just means a little less travel [but] the workload will stay the same.”
Spillane said it is essential that the Red maintains a consistent workout regimen over the course of the season so every runner peaks during the championship season.
“Our goals as a team are to continue to work together, continue to use our teammates to help push us and keep us positive throughout a race,” Spillane said. “We are very focused on the process of this season, doing all the little things we can to prepare ourselves for the championship portion of the season.”