Both men’s and women’s cross country teams scored another point Friday in the long-running Harvard-Yale-Princeton rivalry.
The H-Y-P meet, held in Boston’s Franklin Park, is a decades-old series, in which Harvard men and women hold the most wins. But Yale men and women took a step toward catching up this year and returned to New Haven, coveted first-place trophies in hand. Encouraged by the weekend’s results, coaches look forward to continued success — this season and in the H-Y-P rivalry.
The men’s eight-kilometer race was close. Harvard and Yale are comparable teams, men’s head coach Dan Ireland said. The Bulldogs entered confident from what Ireland called “their best two weeks of training yet.” Captain Rob Doyle ’01 raced out at the two-and-a-half mile mark, to pull the Harvard runners ahead and wear them out. The strategy worked. Doyle — the Bulldogs’ top finisher — placed second, while the rest of the Yale team pulled through strong and steady, ending with 23 to Harvard’s 36. As in golf, low scores are good news in cross country.
Harvard has won 45 of the races over the last few decades, and Yale has won 25.
Princeton men were noticeably absent from the race, which dates back to 1922. Ireland said the Princeton coach has preferred to take his team to bigger, more competitive races for the last couple years.
“When Yale gets good enough maybe he’ll bring the team back,” Ireland said. “[For now] he’s said, ‘Heck with tradition.'”
Princeton women did show up, continuing the women’s nearly quarter-century rivalry. The Yale women came out on top with a score of 18, close to the “perfect” cross country score of 15. The Bulldogs took seven of the top eight places. Only one runner broke into the Yale pack — Princeton’s Emily Kroshus. Yale twins Kate and Laura O’Neill ’03 led the 5K race, finishing first and second, respectively. Lindsay Mitchell ’03, Katie Rigney ’01 and Katherine LaFrance ’01 followed closely behind.
“We had a 30-second gap from the first to fifth runners, which is very good,” women’s coach Mark Young said. “It was a very good showing.”
Young returned Friday from Sydney, Australia, where he was a U.S. Olympic coach. He rejoined the team at the race. He has stayed closely involved with the team, e-mailing the women their workouts.
The H-Y-P meet was the only race to include the entire men’s and women’s teams this season. The teams are usually divided into multiple races. The meet was also the smallest the teams will see.
“It was a small meet — what we needed right now. The field was wide open,” senior Jack Lovejoy said. “It was small in numbers, but it was big mentally.”
Both teams were thrilled to beat Harvard, defending their titles. The win was Ireland’s first as a Yale coach. Ireland hopes never to lose to Harvard, Lovejoy said.
From here, the teams head to New England Conference Championships Oct. 13.