The Columbia cross country team will race in the Metropolitan Championships today in a field of 13 teams from the tri-state area, looking to defend its 2011 title. The Lions have enjoyed phenomenal success at the meet in the past—the women have won for 14 years in a row and the men have won nine out of the last 10 years.
“Since we’ve won the last 14, it’s always a good base to showcase our fitness to the rest of the metropolitan area. It’s a great honor to win the Metropolitan championships, especially with the legacy we have,” senior Clare Buck said.
Racing alongside the Light Blue are Fairleigh Dickinson, Rutgers, Fordham, Hofstra, Iona, Manhattan, Seton Hall, NYU, St. Francis New York, Southern Connecticut State, St. Peter’s, and Wagner—a field deep enough to give the younger Columbia squad some work before the upcoming Ivy Heptagonal Championships.
“From a developmental standpoint, we’re running a lot of our younger guys at this meet. It’s a chance for the freshmen and sophomores to be leaders that day. This is our younger guys’ time to shine,” assistant coach Will Boylan-Pett said.
With the Ivy Heps just two weeks away and the heart of the season approaching, the Lions are putting additional pressure on themselves to perform well at the Mets and next week’s University of Wisconsin Adidas Invitational.
“I wouldn’t call it [Mets] a tune-up, because we’re basically in the championship season. These next two meets, we really have to run well in order to get ranked nationally,” junior Jacob Sienko said.
Even with lofty goals for the rest of the season, Boylan-Pett and the rest of the coaches are continuing to emphasize the same mindset that they’ve been discussing since the beginning of the season.
“All of it is preparation, preparation. You have to have it on at all times and that is the mentality we teach the guys. Repetition is key,” Boylan-Pett said.
The Metropolitan Championships will be held at Van Cortlandt Park at 2 p.m.