Just one point separated the men’s cross country team from Harvard Saturday.
But that point was enough to put the Bulldogs over the top 27-28 to win the Main Memorial Trophy, awarded annually since 1948.
The women’s cross country team also won the Yale-Princeton-Harvard race 35-41-54 to grab the 25-year-old Cheever Memorial Trophy.
Yale has won both trophies five times before, most recently in 2000.
Princeton stopped participating in the men’s race in 1998.
The women’s race, approximately three miles long, began first. Yale, led by twins Kate O’Neill ’03 and Laura O’Neill ’03, who finished first and second, respectively, posted a dominating victory over Princeton and Harvard.
The only competition for the two sisters was each other, and they were only one second apart. Kate O’Neill pushed past Laura with about 30 meters left.
“She’s been beating me recently,” Laura O’Neill said.
The O’Neill sisters’ strong performance — beating the third-place Princeton runner by 45 seconds — helped offset Princeton’s depth. In addition to finishing third, the Tigers snagged the ninth through 12th positions.
Yale, helped by strong finishes from freshmen Julia Pudlin ’06, Emily Vince ’06 and Melissa Donais ’06, beat Princeton by 6 and and Harvard by 21.
The men’s 5-mile race followed, as Yale proved how important the concept of teamwork is in cross country.
Lucas Meyer ’05 fueled the Bulldogs to victory with his first-place finish and new course record of 25:38.
Harvard’s Alisdair McLean-Foreman set the previous record of 25:55.4 on Oct. 6, 2001. Alexis Surovov ’01 held Yale’s record of 26:08.
Yale and Harvard both started the race strong, with about 30 of the 40 runners still bunched together after the first mile.
But by the end of the third mile, the runners began to separate, and Meyer battled with two Harvard runners for the lead.
“I was feeling good until the third mile,” Meyer said.
Yet by the fourth mile, Meyer managed to separate from the two Harvard runners, going on to win the race convincingly. In the end, Meyer beat Harvard’s Matt Seidel by over 20 seconds.
Surovov, last year’s captain, was on hand to cheer for his former team and was not surprised by Meyer’s performance.
“He always had the potential,” Surovov said. “He was chasing me down [last year].”
Yale finished first, fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth, while Harvard finished second, third, fifth, eighth and 10th.
Perhaps most important in the race were the performances from Patrick Dantzer ’06 and captain J.C. Reindl ’03. Dantzer and Reindl, Yale’s fourth and fifth runners, beat Harvard’s counterparts.
Both the men’s and women’s teams compete next in the New England Championships this Friday at Franklin Park in Boston, Mass.