Sports Briefly: men's golf, cross country, men's and women's tennis

Men's Golf
After garnering a strong 7th place finish at the McLaughlin Invitational hosted by St. John’s University, the men’s golf team heads to Ithaca for the Cornell Invitational tomorrow and Sunday. Fifteen other teams will take part in the 54-hole competition along with the Lions, including Ivy rivals Dartmouth, Princeton, Penn, and hosts Cornell. Defending Ivy champion Yale have the weekend off, but defending tournament champion St. Bonaventure will be present. Both St. Bonaventure and Cornell come off top-five finishes in the Leon Keegan Invitational last week with the teams finishing 3rd and 5th, respectively. The Lions will rely heavily on sophomore Andrew Kim and junior Michael Yiu, who both finished in the top twenty individuals last week at the McLaughlin.

Cross Country
Hitting the ground running, the men’s and women’s cross country teams swept their opening meet at the Catamount Family Center in Vermont. With 43 votes in the 2011 NCAA Division I National Cross Country Coaches’ Poll and a number-four rank in the NCAA Northeast region, the women’s team hopes to build on their success in Ohio at the Toledo Inter-Regional Bubble Buster. With seven other nationally-ranked teams competing, the race will be an early opportunity to gauge the competition for an NCAA bid. The men’s team will compete at the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa. next week on Sept. 30.

Men's Tennis
The Columbia Men’s Tennis team faces another challenge this weekend at the annual USTA National Tennis Center Invitational in Flushing Meadows, from Friday Sept. 23 to Sunday Sept. 25. After the promising start last weekend at the three-day Princeton Invitational, the Light Blue has taken advantage of the full week of rest and practice. With high expectations on the shoulders of senior leaders like Haig Schneiderman and Rajeev Deb-Sen, the team will also depend on freshmen Winston Lin and Bert Vancura, who both showed stellar performances during their debut competitions.

Women's Tennis
The Columbia Women’s Tennis team will travel to Penn this weekend to compete in the Cissie Leary Invitational Friday through Sunday. This will be the first invitational played at Penn’s new Hamlin Tennis Center. Eight other schools will join the Lions and Quakers, including Ivy rival Cornell. Last week’s invitational at home gave an encouraging outlook for the upcoming challenges facing the Lions. Most of the team, both singles and doubles, won their first matches, but only sophomore Bianca Sanon advanced as far as the semifinals. There will be many opportunities to improve this weekend due to the larger competition pool, and the invitational will also give a better indication of Ivy League play. Once again, the team will have to face Penn’s Sol Eskenazi, who won the Columbia Invitational in the singles draw. Cornell may prove to be the biggest challenge to the Lions, though, with an impressive showing in its opening tournament last weekend. This is the last competitive play for the Lions before they head to California to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Women’s All-American Championships.

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