With the way the men’s cross country team has performed this season, the ghosts of last year’s Heps should not be haunting them this Halloween.

At the 2002 Heptagonal Championships, the Bulldogs finished dead last. Tomorrow, the Bulldogs will have an opportunity to dispel their reputation as losers. At Van Cortlandt Park in New York, the Elis will race the other members of the Ancient Eight on a 8,000-meter course. The regular field of nine, comprised of the eight Ivy schools and Navy, will be reduced solely to the Ivies this year.

After beating Harvard and Dartmouth last weekend at the NCAA Pre-Nationals, the Bulldogs are expecting to place in the top half at the meet.

Captain Robert Dwyer ’04 said he believes in the Bulldogs and their ability to perform well this weekend.

“I think we are starting to really come together as a team,” Dwyer said. “We can go into our race knowing that we can finish high in the league.”

Luke Meyer ’05, first runner for the Elis, said he is excited for the race because the field is fairly wide open.

“I’m psyched,” Meyer said. “The best teams right now are probably Princeton and Brown but we have a lot of potential for finishing high up.”

Yale has not had a chance to compete alongside the Tigers or the Bears this season. After defeating the Crimson solidly at Pre-Nationals and at Cambridge, the Bulldogs have gained confidence. Trumping reigning Heptagonal champions Dartmouth last weekend was also a big achievement for the Elis and a step on their way to success at Heps.

“We are confident that we have seven guys that can get the job done,” David Napper ’07 said. “We are going to surprise a lot of people.”

As a team, members said they are planning on staying together. They said they want to keep the gaps between the first runner and the fifth and last scoring runner as small as possible. Meyer said it is fortunate that the Eli runners who will be racing are injury-free.

Meyer, who finished first for the Bulldogs in every race he ran this season, said he will not do anything particularly special to ensure a great performance at Heps.

“I’m just going to go out with the leaders and do what I can,” Meyer said.

Napper, who was the third best finisher for the Elis last weekend, said that he also wants to run a strong race and help the team succeed.

“I’m hoping to finish near Casey Moriarty [’05],” Napper said. “Running near him should propel me to a good finish for the team.”

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