With high hopes of besting Harvard and Princeton this weekend, in a meet that comes to New Haven only every three years, Yale’s cross country teams met extraordinary disappointment: The men’s team lost to Harvard and the women’s team lost to both Harvard and Princeton.
Both teams competed Saturday at the Yale Golf Course in the teams’ first Ivy race of the season. The 95th installment of the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton race saw the Eli men defeated 36-21 by the Crimson. Eli women were similarly dominated, notching a score of 71 to Harvard’s 53 and Princeton’s 15. (In cross country, the lowest score wins.)
The course — 8,000 meters for men and 5,000 meters for women — was affected by Saturday’s rain. Although both Yale teams lost, many runners said they will work to redeem themselves in the coming races.
Jared Bell ’09 said the loss certainly left him and his teammates with a “big chip on our shoulder.”
“We’ll drop in the rankings,” he said. “From here on out, we’re looking for redemption. We have to remember how much it hurt to see Harvard win the trophy.”
Captain Jake Gallagher ’09, who won individual honors for the past two years but did not compete this weekend, reiterated those sentiments.
“We made a pretty horrible performance,” Gallagher said. “We let the race get away from us midway. They keyword now is definitely redemption.”
Gallagher said there were some good performances, albeit ones overshadowed by a Crimson victory. John Hinkle ’09 and Murat Kayali ’09 led the Bulldogs in the men’s race, finishing third at 26:20.55 and fourth at 26:30.52, respectively.
In the Princeton-dominated women’s race, where the Tigers took the top six spots, Stephanie Pearl ’10 had the strongest Eli showing, finishing 12th with a time of 18:32.19.
The women’s team expressed more enthusiasm about their results.
Kelli Buck ’09 said though her team didn’t net the results it was looking for, there were good individual performances and it was a strong start to the league season.
“The Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet is a very important meet,” she said. “And we’re going to race in Maine next week. This was definitely a stepping stone for the next race.”
Buck added: “We’re looking to improve strategy and get more races in.”
Several athletes acknowledged this meet was important, both in tradition and ability to boost morale. Although the teams were disappointed, neither was disheartened by the results.
“We definitely could have done better than we did,” Bevin Peters ’09 said. “This is the last time we’ll race Harvard and Princeton until the Ivy League Championships.”
But she added there was still a long time left in the season for improvement. In the coming races, Peters said she was certain the team would perform better.
“We had a lot of good individual finishes,” she said.
The Bulldogs will next compete Oct. 4 at the Murray Keatinge Invitational in Orono, Maine.