While the women’s cross country team was 63 points short of a three-peat at the Heptagonal championships Friday, the men’s squad finished at the back of the pack.
Sisters Kate O’Neill ’03 and Laura O’Neill ’03 of placed first and second individually at Heps for the women’s team, finishing in 17:18.3 and 17:30.0, respectively. The team finished second to Columbia University.
The men’s team placed last out of nine teams, although Lucas Meyer ’05 finished in 25:04.2, good enough for eighth overall.
Kate O’Neill’s time was the best women’s finish since 1987 at Van Cortlandt park in the Bronx, and the sixth best in Heptagonal championship history.
For the Bulldogs, this year’s second-place finish at Heptagonals ended a two-year streak of championships.
“Columbia has a fabulous team this year,” Sawicki said. “There’s a little bit of disappointment.”
The Lions finished with 29 points compared to Yale’s 92, a 63-point margin of victory and the largest point differential between the top two teams in Heptagonal history.
But Sawicki added that despite the unfortunate result, the Bulldogs were happy about their overall performance. Sawicki said the Bulldogs’ main rivals at regionals would be Providence and Boston College.
Meyer, the men’s top finisher, said he was disappointed at his individual eighth-place result, having hoped for a place in the top three.
“I’ve been a little bit sick,” Meyer said. “The weather was great, the course was great. No excuses.”
In addition to Meyer’s sickness, head coach Dan Ireland said Casey Moriarty ’05 hurt his back last week, limiting his performance Friday.
“[Moriarty] wasn’t able to run as hard as he had hoped,” Ireland said.
Meyer said he would be better by regionals and would take advantage of the upcoming race to make up for what he believes was a poor showing Friday.
“We need to beat Cornell,” Meyer said. “This might be far-fetched, but we’d like to take a shot at Columbia. We should try to beat some of their guys, tell them we’re not as bad as we looked on Friday.”
Last year, the men’s team placed fifth in the regional tournament. This year, Ireland said, new challenges might make it harder to do as well.
“Overall, the district is a lot tougher than last year,” Ireland said. “Also, we’ve got so many guys running the race for the first time, it’s a big jump going from three miles in high school to twice that amount.”
The regional course is 10,000 meters long, or about 6.2 miles.
While the men’s team will fight for a chance to improve upon its finish at Heps, the women now turn their focus to the NCAA Northeast Regional championships, where their main competition will be Providence and Boston College. The Regional race is in two weeks and is one kilometer longer for the women than Friday’s Heptagonal.
“We got all our endurance work in for the year, so now we’re just getting into the 6-kilometer mindset,” Sawicki said. “The longer race is an advantage. We have people who are really in shape — most of our top runners do better at the longer distance.”