Cornell women’s cross country split up last Friday — one half travelling to Princeton, N.J. and another to University Park, Penn. — to participate in two important preparation meets ahead of the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships.
The Red placed 18th out of 28 teams at the Penn State National meet, which featured seven other D1 teams, including Penn State, Michigan State and Georgia Tech.
Junior Taylor Knibb finished 35th out of 290 runners, while senior co-captain Gracie Todd trailed in 95th and sophomore Isabella Dobson 97th.
“The Red saw much improved pack running, but were a bit too far back in the large field to make the impact they hoped for in the highly competitive field,” said head coach Artie Smith ’96.
Meanwhile, at the Princeton Invitational, Cornell finished 7th of 22 teams — with freshman Rebecca Hasser most notably ranking 37th out of a total 222 runners. Sophomores Nadia Stratton and Annie Glodeck closely followed, placing 44th and 47th, respectively.
Freshman and sophomores were the only team members participating in this meet, which was an important opportunity for young runners to gain more experience before they compete in Heps in two weeks.
“The team established its position very well and did a great job maintaining and improving throughout the race,” Smith said of the underclassmen who raced in the contest.
Cornell’s main objective is now to gear up for Heps, which Princeton will host on October 27. The team has recently achieved mixed results in what is one of the season’s most important events, placing fifth of the eight Ivy League teams in both 2017 and 2016.
While the Red has failed to crack the top half in recent years, various runners have stepped up to perform above expectations this year — driving hopes that Cornell will best its previous fifth place finishes.
“Our seniors are stepping up and having great seasons, which is particularly rewarding as many have overcome significant injury and illness issues in their careers,” Smith said. “A pair of sophomores (Izzie Dobson and Melissa Zammitti) have improved dramatically and are now consistently in our top seven for the first time in their careers.”
Dobson hails from Elk Grove, C.A., and had five top-five finishes in 2017 as a freshman, while Zammitti is from Mooresville, N.C., and ran in five competitive meets, notching fifth place in the Reif Memorial Run at the end of the season.
Senior co-captains Briar Brumley and Gracie Todd have also had strong seasons in the past, and both look forward to leading their team to success during Heps.
Blumley was CoSIDA Academic All-American Third Team and All-Ivy Second Team in the 3000m steeplechase in 2017. And although Todd was injured during the 2017 season, she finished in the top seven of all six of her races during her sophomore season in 2016.
The team next competes in the John Reif Memorial Run this Friday, which will be followed by Heps the following weekend.