MOUNT VERNON – Cornell's cross country teams head out for the season's third trip to Grinnell College on Saturday, this time with conference medals for the taking.
The Midwest Conference Championships get underway at 11 a.m. with the 11-team women's race at Oakland Acres Golf Club. The men are scheduled to run at noon.
The top 20 individual finishers in each race earn all-conference status.
Coach Dan Schofer's Cornell women will be in the hunt for the team championship, after winning two meets and taking second in another during the regular season. The Rams are the only regionally-ranked team in the field, coming in at No. 10 in the Central Region Poll.
Monmouth edged St. Norbert, 51-55, for last year's team crown. Grinnell, a winner of six titles since 2004, should be in the mix as well.
The Rams are led by freshman Abrah Masterson, who holds the top 6K mark (22:43) in the conference this fall. A three-time MWC Performer of the Week, Masterson has four top-10 finishes with one victory on the year.
Sophomore Sam Martinez and senior Laura Ettlin rank seventh and eighth, respectively. Ettlin was 19th a year ago, pacing the Rams to a fourth-place team finish with 102 points. Freshman Rachel Moline enters the meet 14th.
Grinnell also fields three runners in the top 10, led by 2012 MWC champion Sarah Burnell. She holds the second-fastest time.
The Cornell men look to build on last year's seventh-place team finish. Heading the group is junior Charlie Mesimore, who ranks 24th (27:31) at the 8K distance. Lawrence Dennis (29th), Josh Lindsay (32nd) and freshman Zach Clapp (37th) are in the top 40.
Grinnell ran away with the 2012 men's team title, 33-93, over runner-up Lawrence. Returning from a Pioneer program that has won 15 of the last 16 MWC titles is individual champion Frank Canady. He owns the quickest time in the league this season.