Both Yale squads place last at HYPs

Two very long Yale winning streaks were snapped at HYPs in Princeton this weekend, but Yale’s cross country runners still have cause for optimism.

In the first meet of the season, both Yale cross country teams fell short in the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet — it was the men’s first loss there in six years, and the women’s first loss in eight.

Standout Yale distance runner Lindsay Donaldson ’08, who finished third at an Harvard-Yale-Princeton tri-meet in Princeton on Saturday, competes at an indoor track meet last winter. Both the men’s and women’s teams finished in last place.
Ryan Galisewski
Standout Yale distance runner Lindsay Donaldson ’08, who finished third at an Harvard-Yale-Princeton tri-meet in Princeton on Saturday, competes at an indoor track meet last winter. Both the men’s and women’s teams finished in last place.

The women’s team came in third with 64 points, nine points behind Harvard and 46 points behind host Princeton. With the hometown Tigers not participating, the men’s team lost a dual meet to Harvard, 32-24. Leading the women’s team was captain Lindsay Donaldson ’08, who finished with a time of 18:08.40, good for third overall. Princeton, as expected, had the top two runners in the race. Bevin Peters ’09 and Stephanie Pearl ’09, the Bulldogs’ second- and third-place finishers, crossed the finish line right on each other’s heels at 18:55.60 and 18:57.60, completing the 5K race at 13th and 14th place overall.

Despite the loss, the women’s team is optimistic heading forward, and Donaldson cited the timing of the race as an important factor in the final results. Team members mentioned that Yale’s athletes have been attending classes for nearly two weeks and have had their usual two-hour afternoon training sessions, but Harvard and Princeton have not yet begun their academic years, so their teams have had more time to practice.

“This race has never been run this early in the season,” she said. “At this point in our training, we are very happy with where we are. True, those are our traditional rivals. … But we have started classes.”

Donaldson said the most important focus of the season is preparing for the Heptagonal Championships, which will be held on Oct. 27 at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Before that event, Yale’s teams will compete in the University of Maine Murray Keatinge Invitational, New England Championships and NCAA Pre-Nationals.

On the men’s side, it was just a two-way race to the finish. Although the race is run in its own backyard, Princeton has not taken part in the men’s event for almost ten years.

On the newly constructed 8K course at the West Windsor Fields, Yale’s Jake Gallagher ’09 won the event with an impressive 25:43.40. Unfortunately, after Gallagher it was a swarm of Crimson. Harvard took the second, third, fourth, seventh and eighth places. Yale’s Jared Bell ’09 finished fifth, followed immediately by rookie Johnny Van Deventer ’11, running in his first collegiate event. Both finished within a minute of Gallagher, with times of 26:14.90 and 26:18.80, respectively.

Despite the men’s disappointing team performance, members are confident that the squad will mature as it gets closer to the larger meets in October. Many members of the Class of 2010 will not be racing this season, and the large gap should be filled by the Class of 2011 as the season goes on.

“The freshmen looked very solid in this event,” Christopher Labosky ’10 said. “This was their first collegiate meet. No amount of off-season training can adequately prepare a successful high school runner for this level.”

The freshmen got their first taste of collegiate running only three weeks ago when they first met their teammates at preseason camp. The one-week training program in New Hampshire provided ample opportunity to bond as a team and work with the more experienced runners and coaches. But still, Sunday was the first race for seven Yalies.

“We have a pretty deep freshman class,” Jared Bell ’09 said. “And we are optimistic about the season. But this [meet] was a wake-up call.”

Just like the women, the men’s team’s goals center on the Heptagonal Championships.

“We expect to work hard and perform well,” Labosky said. “Our attention is focused on upcoming meets, especially within the Ivy League.”

Both teams will next compete at the Quinnipiac Invitational on Saturday in Hamden. The race begins at 4 p.m.

Just like the women, the men’s team’s goals center on the Heptagonal Championships.

“We expect to work hard and perform well,” Labosky said. “Our attention is focused on upcoming meets, especially within the Ivy League.”

Both teams will next compete at the Quinnipiac Invitational on Saturday in Hamden. The race begins at 4 p.m.

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