Last year, Cornell’s men’s and women’s cross country teams finished fourth and fifth, respectively, at the Ivy League Championships, and were led throughout the 2017 season by their dominant senior classes. The two teams head into the 2018 season with the common goal of rebuilding their scoring fives and heading into their championship seasons stronger than ever.
Both teams are bolstered by a slew of young talent in their incoming classes. The impact of the men’s freshman class was demonstrated at their season opener this past weekend at the Bucknell Bison Open. Five of the team’s top seven finishers were freshmen, implying an incredible potential for growth over the course of the season, as the team’s youngest members continue to gain experience racing at the collegiate level.
“We have a pretty large freshman class that’s loaded with talent that can contribute on race day in a big way,” said senior captain Tomás Reimer. “Many of them didn’t take long to acclimate to the college lifestyle and have shown a good deal of maturity in terms of keeping themselves organized and staying on top of their work.”
At last year’s Ivy League Championship meet, all five of the men’s scorers were seniors. The team doesn’t need to fill a few holes this season, it needs to fill its entire bracket of top runners — but it has rookies and veterans alike who have already begun to solidify a new top five.
“This team wants to score big at Heps this season,” said Reimer. “A few people have pointed out that we are not ranked as high as we think we should be, and it would bring us all a lot of satisfaction to prove those rankings wrong.”
The women’s team will open their season this Friday at Penn State, at a small but competitive meet which includes Division I powerhouses such as Syracuse. The Red is prepared to compete after a summer of intensive training.
“Cross country is a summer sport that we play in the fall,” said Head Coach Artie Smith ’96, “And so much of the success that we’re going to have in the next two months is going to be built upon the work that people did this summer. And I was very happy with that.”
The team’s top returner is sophomore Gabrielle Orie, who was the Red’s second finisher at last year’s Ivy League Championship, garnering First Team All-Ivy Honors. Orie and her classmates Leya Salis and Raisa Kochmaruk will likely be key contributors this season. The team’s returning seniors include captains Briar Brumley and Gracie Todd, along with track captain Annie Taylor, who had a breakout season this past spring, and long distance specialist Eve Glasergreen, who returns strong after a semester abroad. In her time off the field, Todd is also a Sun staff sports writer.
“The seniors have really stepped up,” said Smith. “The five of them have come back in great shape with great positivity—they’ve each overcome a lot of different obstacles, and they’re doing really, really great things.”
World class triathletes juniors Taylor Knibb and Kyleigh Spearing will continue to gain ground this fall, along with classmate Audrey Huelskamp, all of whom finished in the top 75 at last year’s Ivy League Championships.
Like the men’s team, the women have a large class of freshmen which promises to play a major role in team success this season.
“We’re really excited to see how the freshmen will contribute,” said Brumley. “They’ve all come in healthy and fit. As we lost several top runners last year, there are key spots open for freshmen and/or other underclassmen to fill.”
Men’s and Women’s Cross Country will look to keep improving at their next meet, the U.B. Stampede Invite, at the University of Buffalo on Sept. 14.