Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cuffe Picks Stanford over Villanova & Duke

The recruitment of the nation's top distance runner is finally over. Cuffe pushed up her timetable for making a college decision from January to Tuesday of this week. She recently made an official visit to Palo Alto, Calif., and decided that it wasn't going to get much better than attending one of the most prestigious academic and athletic schools in the nation. She gave herself a week or so to talk herself out of it and couldn't.

With a clear mind and little competition outside of her own team, Cuffe capped off a celebratory week on Friday by winning her third Section 9 Class A cross country title and leading a near-sweep by the Green Dragons, who finished with 16 points. Cornwall has won the last seven Class A titles and 10 in a row, counting the 2001-03 Class B titles.

Cuffe's final race at Bear Mountain State Park produced a winning time of 17 minutes, 39.25 seconds, not even close to the course record of 16:27 she established by winning the OCIAA championship a week earlier. Next Saturday, she will defend her state Class A title.

Cuffe had visited Villanova and Duke -- she liked both schools -- but figured it wasn't going to get much better than Stanford.

“The girls are really down to earth, and they enjoy having a good time,'' Cuffe said. “It was the first college I had been to where I saw them doing homework. Later they went to a party … and they went to the football game. It seemed like a normal team, like my own team. I figured it would be nice to continue that on. Academically, I figured I couldn't go wrong there.''

“It's one of the best universities in America, both academically and athletically,'' Cornwall coach Dave Feuer said.

Last weekend, Stanford won the Pacific 10 Conference title. Warwick graduate and former Section 9 champion Tori Pennings is a red-shirt sophomore for the Cardinal.

“I had already made my decision before they won,'' Cuffe said. “They upset Oregon and Washington and Arizona, and I said, ‘This is the right choice for me.'''

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