Twenty years ago this fall, SUNY Cortland captured the first of what would be seven NCAA Division III women's cross country national championships in a remarkable nine-year span. The Red Dragon dynasty was chosen as the sport's finest during the NCAA's silver anniversary celebration of women's athletics. On Oct. 30, the Cortland squads and their internationally renowned head coach, Jack Daniels, return to campus for a C-Club Classic Teams Reunion.
The seven talented Red Dragon cross country teams, that included 31 All-Americans and a trio of NCAA individual national champions, will reunite with their former coach as part of the C-Club Hall of Fame Weekend on Oct. 30-31.
For several years now, the C-Club has hosted a Classic Team Reunion to launch its weekend celebration. Previous honorees included: national championship teams in soccer, lacrosse and gymnastics; the teams and players under legendary Cortland coaches Pete Corey '43, Bob Wallace '53 and Sally Yeager Wallace '53; and the women who competed in athletics prior to Title IX.
This year's honorees set the bar higher than any Cortland program before or since — an astonishing seven national titles in nine years. It's a feat that may never be equaled again by any NCAA Division III women's cross country program.
"I was so very fortunate to have the dedicated and talented runners who were members of our teams from the end of the 1980s to the end of the 1990s," Daniels commented a few years ago, when the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association selected SUNY Cortland as the top NCAA Division III women's cross country program of the last 25 years.
"During the time that these runners were achieving all that they did, I always felt that they expected to be the best. I know I certainly expected them to perform well every year and they certainly never let me down. Objectively speaking, I guess these great SUNY Cortland runners truly deserve the honor of being selected as the best of this era of collegiate sport for women. I loved being a part of their success and I salute them for what they achieved."
For more information on the 2009 C-Club Classic Teams Reunion, contact the Alumni Affairs Office at (607) 753-2516.