Jason Wu/Sun Senior Editor

The Red appeared to hit its stride at the Yellowjacket Invitational.

September 19, 2023

Cross Country Sweeps First Place Finishes at the Yellowjacket Invitational

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On Saturday, Sept. 16, cross country traveled to Rochester, New York for the Yellowjacket Invitational. With the full squads competing for both teams, the Red showed out, taking first place in both competitions.

The men’s squad competed first in the 8,000 meter race, and the results were near perfection. Out of the 256 runners that competed in this race, the first 12 to cross the finish line came from the Red. Additionally, 18 out of the 21 racers that toed the starting line for Cornell placed in the top 30 overall finishers. Colgate finished second but was nowhere close to catching the Red, finishing with 74 points. 

Senior Rhys Hammond, junior Damian Hackett and senior Colden Longley were the first of the Red to cross the finish line. They finished at 24:55, 24:57 and 24:58, respectively. This sort of pack running is a usual strategy for Cornell, as it produces the best overall team result.

“We certainly want to continue to focus on working together and helping each other,”said  Head Coach Mike Henderson. “We’re going to continue to pack run… in little groups of three or four.” 

Rounding out the Red’s scorers were freshman Pierre Attiogbe and junior Jake Gelfand. They clocked in just five seconds after Longley, with freshman Matthew O’Brien coming in right on their tails at 25:07. 

The women’s team had an equally impressive performance in the 6,000 meter competition. Juniors Marge Dalseth and Augustine Haquet paced the field, finishing the race at 21:56 and 21:59, respectively. The rest of the Red’s scorers were junior Avery Brull, freshman Emma O’Day and sophomore Mariead Clas, all placing in the top 10.

The Red dominated the field, finishing the meet with 26 points. SUNY Geneseo finished in second place with 48 points and Hamilton College secured the bronze with 135 points.

Across both teams, the freshmen have already been making an impact. Having an abundance of young talent can only be a good thing, and Henderson is excited about what they can bring to the table.

“The freshmen are doing a great job at… contributing to the culture of the team and learning what it’s like to race collegiately,” Henderson said. “I’m excited to see what happens with the rest of their careers.”

Cross country will continue its season on Friday, Sept. 29 at noon, when it will compete at the Battle in Beantown in Boston, Massachusetts.

This should prove to be the Red’s biggest test of the season so far, as it will be going against some of the toughest teams in the country. This will be Cornell’s first look at Harvard, which finished second in the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship and came in first in the women’s race in 2022.

“[Battle of Beantown] will be a great early season test for us to see how we stack up against the league and also get a feel for the course,” Henderson said. “Our goal is to just go in and compete and see how high we can finish.”