The GW men’s and women’s cross country teams will run in the ECAC/IC4A Friday, in the Bronx, N.Y. This is the first of the three major races this season, and it’s an especially important one for GW.
“This is the one. This is the race we need,” Coach Jim Hopkins said Wednesday. “This is the one we train hard for. This is the one we have to be ready for – physically and mentally.”
Nearly 40 schools will compete at Van Cortland Park. Princeton University also will participate, along with Manhattan College, Cornell, Duke and Yale universities.
It is a championship meet for schools on the East Coast, so the goal is to have everyone at their best. Two races will take place at the meet. The first, the university race, will have the bulk of the teams. The second race is the championship race, with 12 of the top teams.
Coach Hopkins has been getting the men’s and women’s teams ready this week but the runners said they have been getting themselves ready for awhile.
“We’ve been training well all year,” said sophomore Jenee Peterson. “But we’re well-rested now, and that’s important for this weekend.”
Last year, the team finished 15th in the meet, with senior Jeff McCarthy finishing 22nd.
The difference this year is the training. Hopkins said last year it was inconsistent – he didn’t stick with his original plan.
“We trained hard this week,” Hopkins said. “We came into this week tired. They were a little out of it. But we had some good workouts and we should be ready.”
For the men, success will likely come from McCarthy. He’s been the top GW runner, and Hopkins said that he would like to see McCarthy finish in the top 15.
Freshmen David Talbird and Matt Kascak might finish in the top 20, Hopkins said. They have run extremely well so far, but this will be their first major collegiate race. Hopkins said success depends upon the three, four and five runners. If they can close the gap behind McCarthy, then the team will finish stronger.
The women will look to senior Julie Ann Laurance to guide them, as well as other runners like junior Erin Farrelly and Peterson. The key for them is the same as the men – close the gap from the middle to the front of the pack.