What Is Your Fave?

Posted: 28 October by Brett Hoover in Announcement

HepsTrack had earlier asked where on the Van Cortlandt Park course did separation between the contenders and the rest take place. Now we ask a much more personal question of the coaches — What is your favorite part of the course at Van Cortlandt Park and why?

Princeton coach Peter Farrell

My favorite part of the course at VCP, and I ran every one of my high school races there, would have to be the finish line. It was over. I had a love/hate relationship with cross country. As a coach/spectator I still enjoy the last hill before the bridge. I usually meet up with old buddies Mark (Young) and Lou (Deusing) and shoot breeze till the runners literally drop out of the trees.

Cornell coach Lou Duesing

The awards stand — it means the race is over! Just kidding. For a championship race there is nothing like the back hills and the challenges they present. It is always frustrating not being able to see what’s going on back there.

Yale coach Mark Young

My favorite part of the course is the part which separates out those who will be successful on the women’s side, the back hills. For the guys, cemetery can really be the diffeerence maker. It is always a great moment for me, waiting with most of the other coaches, to see who emerges first from the woods on the hill to the bridge. And to discover where our runners are. It is days of anxiety spent in a few minutes time as one waits to see how one’s team has fared. Not much changes in terms of team score from that point on. Individuals, sometimes, team scores, rarely.

Brown coach Jill Miller

The backhills. They challenge the field and show who can be tough, who has the ability to really hurt, and who can maintain focus away from the majority of the spectators. It’s crazy to compare the field before and after the back hills. Anything can happen back there.

Columbia coach Willy Wood

The final 600m stretch of the flats leading to the finish line — the place where the greatest amount of pain can be experienced to those willing to tap into it.

Dartmouth coach Mark Coogan

For Dartmouth the race will be won and lost out in the back loop going up and down all of the roller coaster hills. This is where the contenders will make their moves. We have a ton of hills in Hanover and we run on hills like these all of the time. I hope we can take advantage of them. My favorite part of VCP is the tradition of the place. You can compare yourself to all of the great Heps runners of the past. The tradition of the Ivy League is wonderful.

Harvard coach Jason Saretsky

The tradition!

Dartmouth coach Barry Harwick

I love the anticipation of waiting by the bridge for the lead pack to come out of the back hills. It is only a few minutes but the race can be determined back there and virtually no sees it.

Princeton coach Steve Dolan

In my mind, the distinctive and great challenge of racing at VCP is the back hills. Park enhancement projects have altered the course in recent years but the back hills are the aspect that has challenged runners throughout the history of races at VCP.

Cornell coach Robert Johnson

My favorite part of the actual course is in the back, between the 3.5- and 4.5-mile marks. That’s where the championship is often decided and to me its somewhat appropriate that it’s done away from vast majority of the spectators’ eyes because that’s the way the whole nature of cross country is as well. The training you do when no one is cheering or watching is what makes or breaks you. My favorite part of Heps is the finishing straight where all of the teams have their tents set up. I think the team spirit and alumni support found at Heps is unmatched at all of the other conference cross country meets across the country.

Yale coach Dan Ireland

The long hill that comes out of the back loop leading up to the bridge. This is the point in the race where you know as a coach every year if this is going to be a good day or a bad day. Not a lot of change happens in the team standings from this point forward.


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