Cornell men ready to take on 2017 expectations
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Men's Cross Country - Mon, Aug. 28, 2017

MOUNT VERNON – Cornell's men's cross country team has enjoyed a steady climb up the Midwest Conference ranks, from seventh in 2012 to fifth in 2014 and then third last fall

The Rams are centered in the MWC title discussion this fall, finishing only one point behind league favorite Grinnell in the 2017 Preseason Coaches' Poll.

"There's no doubt that we have high expectations for our men's team this season," 12th-year head coach Dan Schofer said. "If we take care of business and stay healthy, we can have a truly special season."

Juniors Caleb Wilson (JR/Madison, Wis.), Austin Bach (JR/Larkspur, Colo.), Cuyler Gabriel (JR/Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Mason Wicker (JR/Baldwin, Wis.) all broke or equaled the program's two-mile time trials record on Aug. 25. The four lead runners can take the Rams a long way this season, each carrying impressive individual accolades.

Wilson and Bach are both two-time all-MWC cross country performers, taking third and 14th respectively in 2016. Gabriel earned all-conference status (ninth) last fall and was the team's top regional finisher (32nd). Wicker, a first-year cross country runner, captured three MWC distance titles during a terrific 2017 track season.

"Caleb, Cuyler and Austin are veterans who have already achieved a lot during their first two years," Schofer said. "Add Mason to the mix, and we have great potential up front. Even more important than their ability, these four are incredibly driven and team-oriented. They hold themselves and their teammates to high standards.

"We know we have to be more than a four-man team, and I'm really happy with the mindset of our entire men's team. They bring the right approach and sense of balance to their running."

Matthew McDermott (JR/Menasha, Wis.) and Zach Stoll (SR/West Bend, Wis.) are two more regional competitors back from last year's squad. They placed 32nd and 45th, respectively, at the MWC meet.

The Rams have 10 upperclassmen on the roster, including eight multi-year letterwinners.

Cornell opens competition Sept. 1 at Mount Mercy's Mustang Gallop in Cedar Rapids. This meet will serve as a Bremner Cup event with rival Coe. The Rams won the 2016-17 Bremner Cup All-Sport Trophy, 8-7.