Last Monday, while Harvard students went to class and most Yale students slept off a weekend of debauchery, Cara Kiernan ’07 and Luke Meyer ’05 braved sub-freezing temperatures and a sub-zero wind chill to compete in the NCAA Cross Country Championship.
In the race hosted by the University of Northern Iowa, Kiernan finished 61st out of 252 finishers with a time of 20:57.7 for six kilometers. Meyer finished 103rd out of 254 finishers with a time of 30:53.1 for 10K. With a time of 19:30.4, North Carolina’s Shalane Flanagan won the women’s race for the second consecutive year and Colorado’s Dathan Ritzenhein won the men’s race in 29:14.1. Stanford took both team titles.
“Nationals [was] such an amazing experience, and I had so much fun,” Kiernan said. “I was really happy with the way the race went. I went out hard and just put all I had out on the line and was really glad I had the chance to do that.”
Kiernan, who bettered her personal records for two miles and 5K en route to six kilometers, had the fourth-best finish for a freshman and the fourth-best for an Ivy League runner. She also improved her time from the Oct. 18 Pre-National meet, run on the same course, by 25 seconds.
“This rank is equivalent to the best performance that any Yale freshmen have ever had at NCAA’s,” women’s head coach Mark Young ’68 said. “She would have been the number one runner on nine of the teams, [and] the number two runner on eight others. Basically a great way to cap off a terrific first season of collegiate [cross country].”
While Kiernan said she was pleased with her race, Meyer said he was not satisfied with his. Despite finishing solidly in the top half of the best college runners in the country, Meyer expressed some disappointment with his performance.
“I wasn’t happy with my race, but I was really happy to be there,” Meyer said. “I got out pretty well through the 5K, but I just faded. I kept on trying hard, but I just couldn’t do it.”
Two days before Nationals, the men’s and women’s teams minus Meyer and Kiernan competed once again at Van Cortlandt Park in New York in their last team competitions of the season. The women won the ECAC Championship, and the men placed fifth in the IC4A Championship.
The Eli women put four runners in the top 10. Susan Chan ’05, captain Rebecca Hunter ’04, Anne Martin ’05, and Emily Vince ’06 finished within a span of ten seconds, placing fifth, sixth, seventh, and ninth respectively. Katie McKinstry ’07 was the last Bulldog to score, placing 13th, only six seconds behind Vince. The Bulldogs finished 18 points ahead of runner-up Cornell despite first and third place finishes by the Big Red’s top two runners.
“[It was] a terrific team performance by the top five in particular,” Young said. “[Only] a 16 second gap from one to five with [personal records] by all of them.”
On the men’s side, Casey Moriarty ’05 took the individual crown, improving his Heps time by 11 seconds to duck under the 25-minute mark with a time of 24:57.6. Josh Yelsey ’05 and David Napper ’07 both broke 26 minutes, finishing in 25:47 and 25:54 respectively. Mark Turner ’06 and Wyatt Golding ’06 completed the scoring for the Bulldogs.