CROSS COUNTRY | Bulldog cross country teams dominate CCSU meet

The Bulldogs competed at Friday’s Central Connecticut State University Mini Meet.
The Bulldogs competed at Friday’s Central Connecticut State University Mini Meet. Photo by Anna-Sophie Harling.

With about a mile left in the men’s race at Friday’s Central Connecticut State University Mini Meet, Ryan Laemel ’14 ran behind a pack of Yale runners. But knowing that the top three Bulldog finishers would earn spots on Yale’s team at next weekend’s Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, Laemel moved up past his teammates and almost all of the field at the meet. He finished first among the Elis, eight seconds ahead of the next Yale runner and second overall.

Laemel was not the only Yale runner to excel despite wet conditions at the weekend’s meet at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain, Conn. The men’s team won their race with 26 points, 60 points better than second-place CCSU. The Bulldogs similarly excelled in the day’s first race, as the No. 22 women’s team posted a dominant 65-point victory over No. 10 Providence College with a score of 24 points.

“It was one of those days where it’s just raining; it’s in general just not a pleasant day,” Laemel said. “Despite the rain, our team did a really good job of getting excited for the race, keeping good perspective, not letting negative thoughts about the weather or anything else seep into our head.”

The Elis dominated in spite of the fact that neither Bulldog squad trotted out its top runners on Friday. Paul Harkins, head coach of the men’s squad, said that the team is only allowed 12 slots for runners at the Ivy League Championship meet. Of those 12 spots, he added, he felt that nine runners had already earned their spot,and that he was looking for three runners who excelled at the CCSU meet to take the last three spots.

On the women’s side, captain Nihal Kayali ’13, who did not run in the race, said that the CCSU meet featured Eli athletes who did not run in last weekend’s Wisconsin Adidas Invitational. She added that five of the runners in the CCSU meet will race in the Ivy League Championship meet, though not necessarily the Bulldog’s top five finishers at Stanley Quarter Park.

The women’s team placed its first five runners in the top eight overall en route to its first-place finish among the 14 teams at the meet. Annelies Gamble ’13 placed second overall behind Bryant University’s Eimear Black and first among Eli runners, covering the three-kilometer course in 10:19.44. Anna Demaree ’15, Sarah Barry ’14, Shannon McDonnell ’16 and Jenny Donnelly ’13 closely followed Gamble, finishing third, fourth, seventh and eighth overall, respectively.

“In general it was pretty good across the board for the team,” Kayali said.

The men’s team was able to carry the momentum into the day’s second race. Laemel ran the five-kilometer course in 15:33.75, finishing behind only CCSU’s Colby Delbene. He was trailed closely by teammates Isa Qasim ’15 and Michael Cunetta ’14, who finished fourth and fifth overall, respectively. By finishing as the top three Bulldog runners in Friday’s race, Laemel, Qasim and Cunetta earned spots on the Yale team that will compete in the Ivy League Championship meet on Saturday. Rounding out the Bulldog top five were Sam Kirtner ’13 and Ahmad Aljobeh ’16 in sixth and ninth place overall, respectively.

“I wish I could take more than 12 [athletes to the Ivy Championships],” Harkins said. “There were definitely more than three guys that ran well.”

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams will continue their seasons this Saturday at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships in Princeton, N.J.

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