At the inaugural cross country meet of the season Saturday, the Fordham Follies and Fiasco Invitational, Melissa Chapman ’14 won the individual title, besting competition from 16 other schools, including the No. 15 Princeton Tigers.
It was the first time in three years that the women’s cross country team boasted a top finisher and the first time in five against Ivy competition. Jacque Sahlberg ’13 finished in second to give the Bulldogs the one-two finish.
The results of the meet, the first for new head coaches Amy Gosztyla and Paul Harkin, bode well for future Ivy play.
Chapman led the women’s team to a second-place finish with 43 points, ahead of Penn (96 points) but behind, if narrowly, the defending Ivy champion, Princeton (34 points). The men’s team also competed strongly — taking third place with 88 points, 58 points ahead of the next finisher, the Quakers, who tallied 146 points. Princeton (26 points) took first place and Navy (41 points) placed second.
On the women’s side, Chapman finished the 5-kilometer course in 18:03.63. Sahlberg came in seven seconds later with a time of 18:10.52. Kira Garry ’15 (18:32:00) followed with a 10th-place finish, and Elizabeth Marvin ’13 (18:47.10) and Caitlin Hudson ’13 (18.47.86) took 16th and 17th, respectively.
According to Sahlberg, the team stayed in a pack for the first two miles, saving a final push for the end of the race. She added that Gosztyla encouraged them to go into the meet with confidence.
“[The meet] was a great way to start the season for sure,” Sahlberg said. “It takes a little bit of luck, a lot of work and good direction.”
For the men, Sam Lynch ’12 was the top Yale finisher, completing the five miles in 26:08.39, ninth overall. Conor Dooney ’12 (26:11.94) and Demetri Goutos ’13 (26:17.46) were close behind, followed by Sam Kirtner ’13 (26:48.52) and Matthew Thwaites ’13 (26:50.22).
As did Gosztyla, Harkin suggested a conservative strategy for the men. The team spent the first two miles in a tight pack and focused on rolling up on the larger group to close out the race. Harkin has also continually stressed injury prevention and recovery, issues that have plagued the team in the past.
“[Harkin’s] a very good fit for us,” Michael Cunetta ’14 said. “Knock on wood, everyone’s going to make it to the end in very good shape.”
In honor of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Bulldogs and other participants wore yellow commemorative ribbons produced by members of the Fordham team.
The Bulldogs’ next race is at Harvard on Sept. 17. The women will compete against Harvard and Princeton, while the men will see if they can best the Crimson for the second year in a row.
“It’s unusual for [the meet] to be this early in the season,” Cunetta said. “We’re not in the best shape we will be in — we’re still building up. But we definitely take this meet very seriously.”