This Friday, Cornell’s cross country teams split up to compete at the Penn State Invitational hosted by Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania, in addition to the University of Albany’s R.K. Munsey XC Invitational in Albany, New York. The Red dominated the competition as the top seven runners from each of the men’s and women’s teams were sent to Penn State and those remaining headed to UAlbany.
At Penn State, the men’s team easily dominated the course, coming in first place in the team competition. Junior Perry Mackinnon led the team to victory, placing third with a time of 25:30.6. Junior Rishabh Prakash (6th, 25:47.7), senior captain Matthew Fusco (7th, 25:48.3), sophomore Thomas Foster (8th, 25:52.7) and freshman Damian Hacket (10th, 25:59.6) followed Mackinnon to finish in the top 10.
Seniors Caleb McCurdy (26:14.0) and Jamie Granata (26:19.1) rounded off the top seven runners for the Red, finishing 19th and 21st, respectively.
Mackinnon expressed enthusiasm about the prospects for the season, saying that the team is in excellent condition and has put in the work they need to succeed.
“I’m extremely proud of the team I found post-pandemic,” Mackinnon said. “I find our team is really looking strong. We’re not the favorites, we’re the underdogs and I love being the underdogs. I think that’s the best position to be in and I’m confident that we can upset and do some really good things.”
The women’s team also ran an impressive race, placing fifth overall. Sophomore Izzy MacFarlane paved the way for the team’s success by securing the eighth-place position with a time of 21:12.6.
Senior Rebecca Hasser (21:54.4) followed to place 29th and was accompanied by senior captains Isa Meyers (33rd, 22:06.9) and Lucy Hurt (38th, 22:15.7). They were followed by senior Erin Hudson (48th, 22:28.4) and juniors Sarah Roffman (58th, 22:37.1) and Katy Storti (68th, 22:44.4).
Meanwhile, the teams found similar successes at the R.K. Munsey XC Invitational. The women’s team left the Albany course victorious, claiming the first-place team title. Senior captain Rachel Green was the first to finish for the Red, placing fifth with a time of 19:07.1.
Junior Olivia Curran clocked in sixth with a time of 19:21.2 and freshman Cella Schnabel finished eighth with a time of 19:23.6. Behind came junior Amanda Stone (14th, 19:42.9), freshman Alexa Barton (15th, 19:43.7), sophomore Elizabeth Rene (19th, 19:47.7) and senior Zoe Wilkie-Tomasik (26th, 20:07.6).
The men’s team blew the competition away, placing first overall with each of the top seven runners finishing in the top 10. In total, their score marked 23, approximately 26 points less than the second place team, Roberts Wesleyan College. Sophomore Rhys Hammond led the pack to the finish line, coming in first with a time of 25:08.8.
Behind junior Wyatt Sulivan (25:47.2), freshman Derek Amicon (25:48.1), freshman Brady Shute (25:54.4), sophomore Teddy O’Kane (25:55.9) and junior Alex Mocarski (26:06.4) finished fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Junior Alec Hill finished in 10th place with a time of 26:12.1.
“We had pretty lofty goals as a team to try to win and to get as many guys in the top 10 as possible,” Hammond said, “It’s always reassuring to be able to look to your left and your right and see guys with the ‘C’ of Cornell on their jerseys.”
Hammond also credits the team’s success to their motivation they gained during last year’s season, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s fueling our fire for the season,” Hammond said. “This is honestly one of the most successful seasons our team’s had as a whole in a long time, and I would attribute a decent amount of that to last year, putting our heads down, grinding and honestly, getting a little ticked off about our season being canceled.”
The Red will host the John Reif Memorial, its home invitational, on the Moakley Course on Oct. 22. The race will mainly feature mid-distance and alternate runners, as the Red’s top seven will use the time to prepare for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship held in Princeton, New Jersey, on Oct. 30.