On Friday, the cross country team raced at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship. The meet was held at Van Cortlandt Park and consisted of all eight Ivy League schools. The course was familiar territory for the Red; they ran the same course just two weeks prior, which Head Coach Michael Henderson believes contributed to the team’s strong performance.
“This is the second time we ran this version of the course. [Van Cortlandt Park] is a very tricky, technical course… it definitely helped us to know the back hills and crazy things that they encountered over that run,” Henderson explained.
Consistent with previous games this season, the top two runners for the team were junior Rhys Hammond and senior Perry Mackinnon. These runners placed fifth and sixth, respectively, with times of 24:16.4 and 24:17.5. Senior Rishabh Prakash was the next Red runner to cross the finish line, coming in 13th place with a time of 24:34.7. Sophomore Damian Hackett finished 10 seconds later, placing 16th overall. Rounding out the scorers was sophomore Derek Amicon, in 31st place.
The Red had a team score of 70 points, finishing third overall. Princeton took the Ivy title with 38 points and right behind them with 41 points was Harvard. The Tigers and Crimson are both projected to automatically qualify for the NCAA championship, so their first and second place finishes were no surprise. On the other hand, the Red’s bronze finish definitely turned some heads. In the preseason poll, Cornell was ranked below Columbia and Dartmouth but due to young talent such as Hackett and Amicon, the team was able to defy these rankings. Despite this impressive performance, however, the team still has room for improvement before the Northeast Regional championship.
“We just have to keep working on getting the gap between the fourth and fifth runner a little bit smaller and really tightening that up as we head into regional championships,” Henderson said.
The women’s team did not fare as well as the men’s. Finishing first for the team was senior Rebecca Hasser, placing 23rd with a time of 21:55.4. Senior Sarah Roffman was the next Red to cross the finish line, coming in 37th place. Just two seconds behind was junior Izzy MacFarlane. Rounding out the top five were sophomore Marge Dalseth and freshman Mairead Class. As a team, Cornell came in seventh place with 179 points, finishing ahead of Brown withHarvard taking home first place.
“On the women’s side we had a nice pack, we just have to move up a little bit,” Henderson said.
The results back this up. The Red’s second through fifth runners all finished within 13 seconds of each other. If this pack finds a way to move up like Henderson stated, there is a chance for the team to do some serious damage at their next race.
Cornell’s next race is on Nov. 11 at Van Cortlandt Park, where the team will compete in the Northeast Regional championship.