The men’s and women’s cross country teams will have to wait until next year for another chance at Ivy redemption.
Both teams placed 11th out of 35 teams competing at Saturday’s NCAA Northeast Regional Championships. All Ivies except Penn and Princeton were competing, and the men’s and women’s teams came into the meet hoping to improve on their performances at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships — seventh and eighth, respectively — and finish in the top 10. They were for the most part disappointed, losing to the other Ivies competing, including Brown, which the men beat two weeks ago. But both teams did notch wins against Harvard. Syracuse won the meet on both the men’s and women’s side.
“Beating Harvard was a big goal for us for the season because we knew we could,” Elizabeth Marvin ’13 said. “We finally did it on Saturday.”
Jeff Perrella ’11 placed eighth, earning him a spot at the NCAA National Championships next week. He was the first Bulldog to qualify for nationals since Lucas Meyer ’05 in 2004.
In what could have been his last race for Yale, Perrella stayed at the front of the pack, even as it began to thin out. His perseverance paid off; after narrowly edging out Columbia’s Tom Poland by 0.4 seconds in the last 100 meters, Perrella clinched eighth and with it his spot to nationals. He completed the 10-kilometer course in 30:04.2 at a pace of 4:50 per mile.
Perrella said he took the lessons he learned in past races of the season — including his top-ten finishes in the Penn State National and Ivy League Heptagonal Championships — and executed them.
“When you do things right, things go well for you,” Perrella said.
Following Perrella were Julian Sheinbaum ’12 in 42nd (31:14.0), Nathan Richards ’12 in 73rd (31:46.5), Max Walden ’11 in 84th (31:55.6) and Demetri Goutos ’13 in 98th (32:07.9).
Sheinbaum said that coach Dan Ireland has been pushing the team to start races more aggressively instead of saving energy for a last minute comeback. This meet was the first time that the men’s team fully followed his advice. Sheinbaum said the strategy worked well for the team, and they hope to further utilize it next year.
“Coach [Ireland] has been expecting us to go out fast and really take risks — if you fall back, you fall back,” Sheinbaum said. “Jeff took a huge chance and it paid off in the end.”
Though the women’s team did not meet their goal of finishing in the top ten, the top five finishers had their best races of the season. Marvin was the first Bulldog to finish, placing 33rd and running the six-kilometer course in 21:12.2. Sarah Barry ’14 came in 56th overall (21:33.7). The final three Elis finished within 5 seconds of one another. Anne Lovelace ’12 came in 75th (21:48.4), Melissa Chapman ’14 came in 79th (21:51.6) and Jacque Sahlberg ’13 finished in 80th (21:52.4).
“We used our loss at Heps to fuel this race,” Marvin said. “We made a positive out of a negative race experience.”
As none of the top five runners for Yale will graduate in the spring, the team is looking forward to a strong season next year.
Perrella heads back to practice this week to prepare for the NCAA National Championships on Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind. The rest of the men’s and women’s teams will begin training for the spring and winter track and field seasons as well as cross country in the fall.
“If everyone stays healthy, next year we have a chance to shock some people in the league and in the region,” Sheinbaum said.