Cross country faces top talent in Boston| 9/25/14 3:20pm
Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams return to action this Friday at Boston College’s Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown, where they will line up against some of the best teams in the Ivy League and around the country.The men will square off against four ranked teams — No. 3 the University of Oregon, No. 8 Syracuse University, No. 16 Providence College and No. 30 Columbia University — while the women will be competing against five other ranked teams, including No. 1 University of Michigan and No. 5 Georgetown University.“If we run well at Boston, we’ll move up in the rankings,” men’s head coach Barry Harwick said. “We don’t mind being considered underdogs. We hold our fate in our own hands.”This meet will be a good measure of where the teams sit early in a season where they hope to return to nationals. The men lost four out of seven runners who competed at nationals last year, but Harwick said he believes that this year’s projected top seven is a tight-knit pack and has improved dramatically after training well together in the offseason.“This team is going to surprise some people with how good it is,” he said. “It’s a different type of team than last year’s team. This year, our main goal is to keep the spread between the top five runners less than 30 seconds in every race. At the end of the day, the team score will be in our favor.”As the defending Ivy League champions, the women’s team is focused on bringing another title back to Hanover, while the Big Green men, having placed third in the Ivy League the past three years, look to triumph in what Harwick described as a wide-open field.Two weeks ago, the Big Green men and now-No. 25 women dominated the field at the Dartmouth Invitational, each cruising to easy team victories.Leading the men’s pack is King, who did not run at NCAAs last year, but is fresh off of an individual victory at the Dartmouth Invitational.“It was a great win for the team,” Curtis King ’16 said. “We’re a team that’s really underestimated this year, and to come out without a full squad and to dominate the meet was really great.”The Big Green will also look to team captain Silas Talbot ’15 and Tim Gorman ’16 to join King at the front.The defending Ivy League championship women’s team returns with four of their top five from last year. Dana Giordano ’16, who was the second runner on the team behind Abbey D’Agostino ’14 and claimed All-American honors last season, will lead the pack this season.Team captains Sarah DeLozier ’15 and Alison Lanois ’15, as well as Sarah Bennett ’16, will contribute to the team’s depth. Women’s head coach Courtney Jaworski will also look to Reid Watson ’16 to join the pack, who is one of many strong contenders on the team who have benefitted from a tremendous offseason.“The entire team has made great strides this summer, with strong workouts and a great mindset,” Jaworski said. “This bodes well for us moving forward.”The women’s 5-kilometer race begins at 3 p.m. today, and the men’s 8-kilometer run starts at 3:30 p.m. in Boston. After this weekend, the teams will shift their focus to the Wisconsin Invitational on Oct. 17, which will assemble the strongest field of teams in the entire country in what could be considered a preview for nationals in November.