It was fun going through this past weekend’s results to determine who should be recognized in this edition of “Athletes of the Week”. I mean it – there were so many good performances that it was sometimes hard to pick just one, and when we did figure out who, we learned more information behind the meaning of the performance. I believe this bodes well for the upcoming championship season in multiple ways: 1) it is going to be a damn exciting HepsXC Championship, and 2) there are so many athletes worthy of qualifying for NCAAs that it’s going to be hard to figure out who makes the cut. And now, our last edition of Athletes of the Week before we enter the championship season.
Male Athletes of the Week
Going into this 2015 cross country season, many Ivy League fans were fairly certain that Penn’s Thomas Awad could be the first athlete in almost 30 years years to defend his HepsXC title (the last one to repeat – Army’s Curt Alitz back in 1976 and 1977). But as the season has unfolded, two other seniors are having the best cross country season of their career as they are breaking out and taking down national-caliber names in the process.
Ben Rainero of Cornell first really came onto the scene at the Battle in Beantown meet in September, but on the Pre-Nationals course on Saturday, he really showed that he can keep up with some of the top tier racers in the nation. He stayed near the front of the main chase pack throughout the race, and when the big surge happened in the final 2km of the race, he held on to finish 11th overall in 23:32.8, finishing ahead of 2014 All-Americans Ammar Moussa and Morgan Pearson from Colorado, and Matt McClintock of Purdue (to name a few). Rainero was the top Ivy in the race, and many are declaring Rainero’s race to be All-American worthy.
At the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Friday, Aubrey Myjer of Columbia (shown above) had the best cross country race of his career. He finished 19th overall in 23:52.5 in a slow/tactical men’s race where position was key by the time the race broke out after the 6km mark. He was the top Ivy in the race, surprising a few distance running experts like Letsrun.com’s Robert Johnson. Check out his words below in reaction to Myjer’s race:
“Can I nominate a Breakout Performer of the Meet for Columbia’s Aubrey Myjer?
I’ve never heard of the guy and I follow the league kind of closely. At their last meet, he was the #6 man on the team and finished 29th at the low-key Princeton meet. [Editor’s note: Letsrun.com forum rumor has it that he fell, got spiked and spotted the field 10 seconds at 2k at Princeton, suggesting that he could have placed higher at the Inter-Regional meet.] Today, he was their #1 man and 19th at Wisconsin.
And he’s a senior. He’s never even run the xc conference meet in college. He did run 8:57 for the steeple last year but didn’t even score at conference. My gosh talk about a guy who perseveres and then has a dream senior season.”
Female Athlete of the Week
Brown’s Natalie Schudrowitz also made quite an impact at Pre-Nationals. The sophomore finished 7th in elite red race in 20:09.4. She was the second best sophomore in the race. She made her move into towards the lead pack near the halfway point in the race. At the 3km mark, she sat in 13th place in 9:59.3, the caboose of the lead pack. She continued to move up and by the time she crossed the finish line, she passed another six runners – including former Columbia runner Waverly Neer in eighth with 20:11.5 – and was just a step away from passing Michigan All-American Erin Finn (sixth in 20:09.1).
Male Rookie of the Week
The Brown men competed in the unseeded Black race at Pre-Nationals, finishing third in the team scoring. Rookie Eli Moskowitz was the Bears’ #1 runner, finishing in 14th place with a time of 24:22.1. Moskowitz was the second best rookie in the field. In his collegiate debut at the Battle in Beantown, he was Brown’s #3 runner.
Female Rookie of the Week
Rookie Libby Kokes led the charge for Columbia at the Leopard Invitational on Saturday afternoon. She finished second overall in the 6km race in 22:14.0, a second and a half ahead of Iona’s Annabel Gummow. Kokes’ second place finish – in addition to all team scorers finishing in the top 10 – helped the Lady Lions win the team title with 25 points. Earlier this season, Kokes finished as Columbia’s eighth runner at the Princeton Inter-Regional meet.
photo by Michael Scott