In the midst of multiple broken records and a dominant performance by the orange and black of Princeton on the women’s side, the Yale’s men’s and women’s cross country teams both posted disappointing performances at the Heptagonal Championships on Friday at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The men took seventh place overall with 176 points, only beating Penn who scored 193 points, while the women finished in last place in their race with 211 points.
“It was kind of disappointing. It didn’t really come together the way we wanted it to,” captain Jake Gallagher ’09 said. “It’s a highly competitive league and you’ve got to show up on the day of the meet if you’re looking to do well.”
For the men’s five mile race, Jared Bell ’09 led the team with a time of 25:21.7 for 21st place overall. Gallagher (25:37.4, 29th), John Hinkle ’09 (25:48.3, 37th), Max Brown ’10 (26:05.6, 44th) and Jeff Perrella ’10 (26:20.6, 45th) took the next four places for the Bulldogs to round out the scoring for a 59 second spread. Ben True of Dartmouth took first place with a time of 23:59.6, edging out his nearest opponent by a margin of 32.8 seconds. His time was the fastest time recorded in the history of the Heptagonal Championships.
Brown explained that the idea of a big race probably got to the runner’s heads and so the team didn’t run to its full potential.
“There was no one special out there this year. There was no one who was unbeatable,” he said. “Princeton was a good team but the fact is we can’t worry about other teams. If we had run what we were capable of then we would have finished better and I have no doubt about that.”
The team’s strategy was to have groups running together until at least three miles into the race, but by the 1.5 to 2 mile mark, the team was already separated.
“We were out there running as individuals and not a team,” Brown said. “We like to have a plan going in. Every race has a different plan but in all races there’s the idea that you want to run as a team and that’s something that just didn’t happen for us.”
In the women’s 5k race, captain Kelli Buck ’09 led the team with a time of 18:37.0 for 29th place. The Elis’ remaining scorers were Bevin Peters ’09 (18:54.2, 39th), Jennifer Downing ’12 (19:15.0, 46th), Anne Lovelace ’12 (19:21.7, 47th) and Alexandra Cadicamo ’10 (19:31.8, 50th) for a 54.85 second spread.
Buck explained that the second half of the course is very hilly, making it one of the most challenging courses that the team had to run on all year.
“Overall it was a disappointing result,” she said. “The competition was about what we expected. Princeton pretty much dominated the top group. It just wasn’t our day.”
However, Buck noted that Cadicamo’s fifth place team finish was a big improvement on the year and that Lovelace and Downing both put forth exceptional performances as freshmen.
Princeton took 1st place in both the men’s and women’s championships, scoring 58 and 17 points respectively. The Princeton men’s first place finish would be their third title in a row.
“[Princeton] surely by no means dominated but they performed well and were deserving of the win,” Gallagher said. “It was anyone’s meet for the taking and they were the ones that rose to the challenge.”
The women Tigers were the only nationally ranked Ivy League team coming into Saturday’s meet, and it showed. Nine of Princeton’s runners finished in the top 11 in what would be a stunning victory. Their score of 17 points was the lowest point total in the history of the Heptagonal Championships. The Tiger’s Liz Costello, last year’s individual champion, took first place individually with a time of 16:59.9, the fastest time in the championship’s history.
Fortunately, this isn’t the end of the road for the Elis. They will compete again in the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships next weekend.
“I think we’re definitely where we want to be in terms of training,” Gallagher said. “It’s just a matter of putting it all together. We need to put the result of the championships in the back of our minds and use it to motivate us for regionals.”
Buck also said that the women would use the disappointing performance as motivation for next week.
“We’re going to try and rebound and come back with a vengeance and hopefully we can improve upon our performance,” she said.