Cornell women’s cross country began its season this past Friday with a strong performance at Penn State’s Spiked Shoe Invitational. The Red finished fourth in a field of 10, coming up just behind three of the top ranked teams in the country.
Penn State, ranked 12th nationally, won the meet, followed by No. 22 Syracuse and No. 25 Georgetown. Cornell finished a mere 14 points behind the Hoyas, proving the Red’s ability to challenge those near the top of current Division I rankings.
“I was very happy with our competitiveness and overall effort,” said head coach Artie Smith ’96. “We want to keep working on our capability in the final half of the race, but this was one of the better first meets for us in that regard. We’re certainly not satisfied, and I think the team realizes that we have a lot of work in front of us. But I think they are excited by that too.”
The Red’s senior class had a very strong race, stepping up to fill the gaps left by last year’s seniors.
“There were five of us seniors in the top eight, which is incredible because our class has dealt with so many injuries and obstacles over the years,” said senior captain Briar Brumley. “We’re so happy to have overcome all that and come out on the other side together.”
Brumley finished in 14th, close behind her fellow senior Annie Taylor, who led the team with a 12th place finish.
Sophomore Isabella Dobson followed Brumley in 15th place, shredding an incredible 45 seconds off her former best. Senior Olivia Young also set a new personal record, finishing in 24th place, and sophomore Melissa Zammitti rounded out the scoring five with a 26th place finish.
Senior captain Gracie Todd, a Sun staff writer, and freshman Isabel Morzano were the team’s sixth and seventh runners, finishing in 27th and 28th, respectively. Morzano was the only freshman representative in the top seven, but her fellow rookies were likewise successful in their collegiate debuts.
“We were so excited to have our first race with our newest team members,” said Brumley. “They all approached their first 6K with a great attitude and we’re all really proud of how well they did.”
The senior class is a dominant force at the head of the team, but the freshmen add a depth of new talent to the roster. They could be a key component in the team’s development this season as they continue to accrue experience.
“We want to continue to take steps to get better,” said Smith. “Each runner has a lot more information on what they need to do to take those steps forward. I’m excited we can get right back after it so soon.”
While the focus remains on consistency and steady improvement, this weekend’s season opener proved that the Red has rebounded from its losses and is poised for a competitive fall semester — with some of the best teams in Division I already within reach.
The Red will return to action next Friday at the Stampede Invite at the University of Buffalo.