Sports | Cross Country

Cross Country heads uptown to the New York Metropolitan Championships

  • break out | After winning the Notre Dame Invitational, the Light Blue men's cross country team ranking jumped 22 places to No. 8 in the nation.

The men’s and women’s cross country teams will head up to Van Cortlandt Park on Friday for the New York Metropolitan Championships, where they will race against some of the city’s other schools.

The men, who won the highly competitive Notre Dame Invitationallast week, jumped an astounding 22 places in the national poll to become the No. 8 team in the nation. After finishing fifth at the Paul Short Invitational, the Light Blue women are looking forward to using this weekend as a springboard to give them some momentum ahead of the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in Madison next weekend. 

“Heading into Wisconsin next weekend, we’re really trying to redeem ourselves after Paul Short. We know what we’re capable of, and last weekend didn’t reflect that,” sophomore Leila Mantilla said in an email.

The women are hoping to make a big leap in the next couple of weeks in order to snag a spot at nationals, but Lions head coach Willy Wood knows that won’t be easy. Both teams will need to do well at the Ivy League Championships, or HEPS, before regionals and then nationals.

“We want to get to nationals however we can, and, of course, we want to win HEPS,” he said via email. “We want to take giant steps forward now. No time for baby-stepping it toward much better. In a few weeks it will all be done.”

The Lions have been working hard in order to make a giant leap, and they believe now is the time.

“Across the board everyone has been putting forth a lot of energy and time into great workouts these past few weeks,” junior Waverly Neer said in an email. “Everyone has been putting in the mileage and time for some really awesome performances this weekend.”

On the men’s side of things, the Lions should be able to move pretty smoothly through this weekend into next weekend’s race in Wisconsin, where they will now have targets on their backs.

Although the men’s lofty achievements have been recognized by others, it has not changed their overall goal.

“The goal now is the same as it has always been, winning HEPS and going top 10 at Nationals,” senior Nick Composto said in an email.

Wood is calmly confident about the men. “As of now, we are simply a bundle of potential waiting to be actualized,” he said. “We are training hard, living righteously, and taking care of all the supplemental things.”

The men’s cohesiveness and willingness to push each other seem responsible for the Lions’ success. 

“Honestly, there is no competitive element in practice,” Composto said. “We are not out there looking to beat one another. We would rather work together, and support and push each other to succeed.”

If the Lions can manage a dominant performance on both sides this weekend, they will go into the Wisconsin Invite with enough steam to turn even more heads. The races start Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Van Cortlandt Park flats, the last stop on the 1 train.

sports@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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