CROSS COUNTRY | Men notch first win over Harvard since 2006

Max Walden ’11, left, was one of seven Bulldogs to finish in the top 11 against Harvard on Friday. He placed eighth.
Max Walden ’11, left, was one of seven Bulldogs to finish in the top 11 against Harvard on Friday. He placed eighth. Photo by Toshiki Sakiyama.

In the final minutes of Friday’s meet, the men’s cross country team made its move to win its annual race against Harvard for the first time since 2006. The women’s team, meanwhile, was frustrated by Princeton and Harvard, coming in third for the third race in a row.

Until the beginning of the fifth and final mile, the top three runners in the men’s event were all sporting crimson. It was then that much of the Yale team moved forward, led by Jeff Perrella ’11, who ultimately placed second at 25:35.53.

“It wasn’t as much thinking as it was instincts,” Perrella said. “My legs got it done for me.”

Julian Sheinbaum ’12 and Sam Lynch ’12 moved into third and fourth place with only 400 meters before the finish line, finishing within one second of each other at 25:39.45 and 25:40.30, respectively. Yale dominated the standings: Of the top 11 finishers, seven were Bulldogs.

“It was the indomitable spirit of the Yale men that overcame and won the day from Harvard,” Perrella said.

According to Perrella, racing at the Yale Golf Course “certainly was an advantage.”

“We run that course day in and day out,” Perrella said. “It comes second nature to you, running over the hills.”

Harvard’s Daniel Chenoweth, who won the race, set a new meet record, finishing in 25:10.70.

Though they came into the meet eager to beat Harvard, the women’s team was not as successful. They set out aiming to stay in a pack, but found it difficult to stay together. Elizabeth Marvin ’13, the first Bulldog to finish, came in 10th place at 18:19.59.

“We have to work on running in a pack in the beginning,” she said. “Too many people didn’t go with the lead pack. We definitely have the capacity to stay together for the first two miles and then go after those ahead of us.”

The team, though disappointed, is still hopeful for the rest of the season. Two freshmen were among the first four Elis to finish, and with more training, the team expects them to further improve. Also, Marvin said having their fifth runner finish before Harvard’s was the highlight of the meet for the Elis.

“Once we pull it together and everyone has a good day, I think we’re a better team than Harvard,” Marvin said.

After strong showings earlier this month at Dartmouth and Quinnipiac, the men’s team’s victory Friday leaves them optimistic going forward. Perrella does not envy those Yale will be racing in the future.

“When you’re a member of the Yale cross country team, you always go in aiming to win,” Perrella said. “Any time you step up to the line, it’s not a question of winning but a question of how much you’re going to win by.”

The men’s and women’s teams will next run at the New England Championships on Oct. 9.

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