The Yale men’s and women’s cross-country teams traveled to nearby New Britain on Friday to compete in Central Connecticut State University’s Mini-Meet. Each squad faced 15 other schools, and after a strong day of competition, the women placed sixth overall and the men finished in third.
The women’s squad ran six runners, primarily middle-distance track runners familiar with the three-kilometer course length. The Bulldogs beat out eight regional contenders, including Quinnipiac, Stony Brook, Central Connecticut, Rhode Island, Wagner, St. Francis, Fairfield and Hartford.
Sarah Barry ’14 led the Bulldog pack with a solid fifth place finish in 10 minutes, 18 seconds, despite this being only her second race of the season. Emily Waligurski ’17 finished close behind Barry for 10th place in 10:22, and Shannon McDonnell ’16 secured third for Yale and 14th overall in 10:25.
“Our team expectations were to place well in the meet and get in another fast, competitive effort before [Ivy Heptagonals] next weekend,” Barry said in an email.
Barry noted that the squad’s Mini-Meet strategy was to push to the front of the field and maintain that position throughout the entire race.
According to Barry, the women’s squad has been gearing its recent training toward the 6k distance of the upcoming Ivy Championships, not the shorter 3k CCSU Mini-Meet.
“Training for the longer distances (5k and 6k) has been great training for the 3k. It makes the 3k seem short and [gave us] confidence that [we could] push hard the whole race,” Barry said.
The CCSU Mini-Meet showcased the depth of the Bulldogs’ team and let the Elis lengthen their legs on a relatively simple course before the championship meets including the Ivy Heptagonal Championships and NCAA Northeast Regional Championships. If the Bulldogs qualify through their performance at regionals, they will also run in the NCAA Championships.
Last year, the women finished fifth at the Ivy Heptagonal meet and seventh at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships. At these meets, the Bulldogs will face many of the same teams against whom they have contended throughout this season.
The men also had a solid race Friday as three of their top runners placed in the overall top 20. The Bulldogs finished close behind Providence and CCSU, who are ranked fourth and eighth in the Northeast Region, respectively. The Elis pulled far ahead of other regional contenders Quinnipiac, Stony Brook, UMass Lowell and UConn.
Tom Harrison ’15 led the Elis on the 5k course, securing 13th place in 15:23.25, followed by Dan Grosvenor ’17 in 15:27.70 and Alec Borsook ’15 in 15:28.39.
“This race was mostly about figuring out who we’d be taking to [Ivy] Heps this Saturday,” Borsook said in an email. “Since we can only take 12 guys, we were looking for a few runners to step up and finalize our roster for this week.”
With nine runners already set to run in the Ivy Championships, this race was essentially a competition among the Yale runners to determine the last three positions at Princeton, according to Grosvenor.
In preparation for the championship meets concluding its scheduled season, the men’s squad has been gearing toward increasing its speed on the long distance 8k course, Grosvenor and Borsook said.
“Our workouts [these past few weeks] have been a lot higher in volume, especially compared to high school,” Grosvenor said.
The CCSU Mini-Meet was the fifth collegiate race for the freshman Bulldog, who added that he has definitely adjusted to the increased amplitude of practice and competition.
Despite the fact that the Elis have appeared to be in the middle of the Ivy League pack this season, the squad has set higher standards for itself.
“We’ve got our sights on Dartmouth and Harvard … especially Harvard … [Their runners have] been pretty consistent all season” Grosvenor said.
Both Bulldog squads are set to compete in the Ivy Heptagonal Championships this coming weekend, Nov. 2.