As the men’s cross country team toed the line at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship meet last Friday, the team confronted a new challenge. While the Elis typically run in eight-kilometer races, the last meet of the season would also prove to be the longest at 10-kilometers. Though captain Kevin Lunn ’13 noted that the extra two kilometers added a degree of difficulty to the race, he added that the team ran a very solid race.
“On the whole, everyone just performed up to or over their potential for the day,” Lunn said. “There was nothing more we really could’ve done so it felt good to go out on a race like that.”
At Friday’s regional meet, both the men’s and women’s teams rebounded from a disappointing Ivy League Heptagonal Championship meet two weeks ago. The women’s team finished with a score of 215, seventh out of 37 teams, while the men’s team placed eighth out of 34 squads with a score of 248 points.
Running in the final race of the day, the men’s team put forth one of its strongest efforts of the season.
Matthew Nussbaum ’15 paced the Bulldog squad, completing the 10-kilometer course in 31:02.9 en route to finishing 24th overall. He was followed by John McGowan ’15, who finished second on the squad for the first time this year and 42nd overall. Lunn, Alexander Conner ’16 and Demetri Goutos ’13 also scored for the Elis, placing 53rd, 59th and 70th, respectively.
“I was very happy with how the meet went,” Lunn said. “We were able to end the season on a high note.”
The women’s team began the day seeking to recover from a subpar fifth place finish at the Ivy League Championship. Led by Liana Epstein ’14, who covered the six-kilometer course in 20:42.9 and finished 25th overall, the squad placed third among Ivy League teams on Friday. Captain Nihal Kayali ’13, Emily Stark ’16, Elizabeth Marvin ’13 and Caitlin Hudson ’13 closely followed Epstein in rounding out the Eli top five: They finished 42nd, 44th, 49th and 55th, respectively.
“It was a much improved performance off of Heps,” women’s team head coach Amy Gosztyla said. “We definitely ended with a good, strong team performance.”
Gosztyla, however, expressed disappointment that the team did not qualify for nationals with their performance.
“It was definitely a bittersweet end to the season,” Kayali said. “Ultimately, as a team, [we] weren’t able to achieve a lot of the goals we set at the beginning.”
Because neither team qualified for the national championship meet, Friday’s race signified the end of the cross-country careers of 15 Eli seniors. The women’s team bade farewell to Jennifer Donnelly ’13, Jennifer Downing ’13, Tori Flannery ’13, Annelies Gamble ’13, Phoebe Gaston ’13, Jacque Sahlberg ’13, Hudson, Kayali and Marvin, while the men’s team said goodbye to Timothy Hillas ’13, Sam Kirtner ’13, Michael Pierce ’13, Matthew Twaites ’13, Goutos and Lunn.