After a strong performance at Georgetown, the men’s and women’s cross country teams hit the road this weekend in hopes of improving their competitive performance. Although the Eli runners train to peak in November, these early meets set the tone for the season, largely focusing on development of team chemistry.

For their second meet of the season, the men will travel to Bethlehem, Pa., to compete in the Paul Short Invitational, hoping to expand on the momentum built up in the last meet, while displaying their steady improvement as a team. The squad will look to captain John Reindl ’03 to lead a relatively young group to success.

Last year’s top freshman, Lucas Meyer ’05, finished first at Georgetown and will likely be the foundation of this year’s team. In addition, fellow sophomore, Casey Moriarty ’05 turned in a solid performance in his first race of the season and will look establish himself as one of Yale’s top runners.

The women are headed to the Iona Meet of Champions on the new course at Van Courtlandt Park in the Bonx, a course that Young said he expects to benefit “true distance runners.” Anchored by All-Americans Kate and Laura O’Neill, both Class of 2003, the team’s top runners should be rounded out by captain Lindsay Mitchell ’03 and Alexandra and Nadia Sawicki, both Class of 2004 to round out his top runners.

Young also said he anticipates great things from his young but capable rookies Julia Pudlin ’06 and Melissa Donais ’06 this season, who will look to find their stride at the college level at these earlier meets.

The most recent poll released this week ranked the team 16th in the nation, but the women are far more concerned with improving as a team.

“At this point in the season, we are focused on building a better team and becoming stronger runners,” Anne Martin ’05 said.