One of the most intense rivalries in college sports heated up again last Friday as the cross-country team traveled to Cambridge to race Harvard in Franklin Park. The Elis have won the last two runnings of “The Meet,” but in both races, the margin of victory was slim. This year, Yale won in blowout fashion, topping Harvard by a score of 38-20.
“In [each of] the last two years we have only beaten Harvard by one point,” Casey Moriarty ’05 said. “It’s nice this year to leave no doubt as to who the better team is.”
Moriarty finished first with a time of 24:26, the fastest time ever recorded on the course by a Yale athlete. Captain Lucas Meyer ’05 finished seconds behind at 24:28. Bulldogs occupied four of the top five spots in the race.
“I was very pleased with the way we ran against Harvard, especially in light of the fact that we did not compete two athletes that would have been in our top eight,” head coach Daniel Ireland said. “Anytime we beat Harvard it is a good day, and to win by as big a margin as we did made it even nicer.”
Patrick Dantzer ’06 finished fourth, clocking in at 24:58, and Josh Yelsey ’05 came in fifth with a time of 25:13. David Napper ’07, who spent the summer recovering from injuries, completed his first race of the season at 25:27. Andrew Johnson rounded out the Bulldogs’ top six with a time of 25:31.
“The race went, for the most part, like we planned,” Meyer said. “We relaxed for the first mile and a half, and then started picking up the pace. It was great to beat Harvard by such a large margin.”
Meyer and Moriarty successfully executed their plan of running the entire race together and challenging each other to keep a strong pace.
By the last mile, they couldn’t even hear the footsteps of the fastest Cantab behind them. Reed Bienvenu, Harvard’s top runner, clocked in at 24:46.
The Bulldogs were thrilled with their performance.
“This year was our third consecutive victory in this meet, a feat which Yale has not accomplished in decades,” Andrew Johnson ’06 said.
“We were not full-strength as a team due to minor injuries and illnesses, so we were relieved to run as well as we did. It proved to us that we have a legitimate shot at placing very high in the late-season meets that are considerably more important.”
The Bulldogs’ success against Harvard is no surprise. As preseason favorites, the Elis were heavily favored in Friday’s contest. Yale will be in the position to capture the Ivy League championship if it continues at its current pace.
The Bulldogs’ junior varsity squad will return to Franklin Park this coming weekend to compete in the New England Championships. The next test for the varsity team, which consists of Yale’s top 10 runners, will come Oct. 16 when the team will travel to Terre Haute, Indiana, for the NCAA pre-nationals.
“The focus now is to take the confidence we have gained from the Paul Short Invitational and our victory against Harvard and go into the pre-national meet ready to surprise a lot of teams around the country,” Moriarty said. “The amount of talent, confidence and depth this team has really sets it apart from any other team I have been on at Yale.”