It's two weeks later, and I took another look at those Brown and Cornell (men's) rosters. Still very limited numbers of freshpersons.
At first I was going to make some comment about how people need to spend more time making recruiting calls. But now--tied in with the earlier posts about how most Ivy teams did not take full squads to outdoor Heps last spring--I'm starting to think in another direction.
(Most of) the Ivy xc and t&f teams *are* continually moving toward being nationally competitive. That means making "big" trips to face top competition, and *that* means spending a lot of $$$.
At outdoor Heps this year, a majority (I think?) of events included competitors who went on to garner all-American honors at the NCAA meet. I can see that, for most teams, Heps has ceased to be a "participation" meet--to the extent it ever was--and that paying to transport and house athletes who have no realistic chance to contribute to your team's score (this year, or in the future) is unattractive: it drains the funds that you'd use to get your top kids to the meets that they need, in order to sharpen their abilities to all-American level. And I'm pretty sure most/all teams have some limit on their travel funds.
I'm not necessarily lamenting this change. (Most other Ivy sports and their championships are not participation-oriented: only a limited number of kids can compete, and your recruiting is more oriented toward getting a few *great* kids, not a bunch of good ones.) I'm just observing what seems to be a shift in the culture. Though they're as suspect as any other stereotypes, I think it's accurate to say that some Ivy tf/xc teams historically were seen more as "development" programs, while others (maybe Harvard and Princeton, say) were typed as "prime beef" teams that brought in kids who were already great. But now, with even a classic "development" team like Cornell recruiting so many of the country's very best HS performers, perhaps *all* the Ivies are shifting to the "prime beef" emphasis, just so they can remain competitive.
If that's the case, perhaps we'll see a general trend in coming years: fewer (but higher-quality) frosh being recruited; smaller squads, in general and at the Heps in particular (not every team is even running twelve athletes at Heps xc!); and fewer (but more nationally-prominent) meets on the regular-season schedule. That likely could mean fewer dual/tri meets (a development I *do* lament); maybe it helps explain "kibitzer"'s observations about Columbia's limited meet schedule, too.