On Nov. 20, as most Yalies staggered towards Harvard Stadium still recovering from the previous night’s festivities, the members of the men’s cross country team raced across the frozen tundra of Van Cortlandt Park on their way to an eighth place finish at IC4As. Two days later, captain Lucas Meyer ’05 competed in the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., earning All-American status with an 18th overall finish.
Casey Moriarty ’05 finished second in the IC4As, and four of Yale’s five scoring runners finished in the top half of the 177-runner field. Still, the Elis fell short of their goals for the last race of the season.
“IC4As was not a good race for us,” Moriarty said. “I don’t know what happened except that a lot of guys were tired from a long season. IC4As was our third race in a row at the difficult Van Cortlandt Park course which really takes a toll on your legs.”
Moriarty clocked in at 25:00, only five seconds behind the first-place finisher, Chris Foster of Penn State. Patrick Dantzer ’06 placed 24th with a time of 25:37, and Josh Yelsey ’05 finished 29th with a time of 25:45.
LaSalle University won the race with a score of 56 points.
“Now that the season is over it is with mixed thoughts,” Yale head coach Daniel Ireland said. “We fell short of our team goal of winning an Ivy title but we had some individuals that had breakthough seasons.”
Despite some disappointments, the Elis had many bright spots this year. The Bulldogs defeated Harvard for the third straight season, finished in the top 40 in the nation, and became the only Ivy League team ever to boast two first team All-Ivy performers for two years in a row. Perhaps the greatest highlight for Yale cross country was Meyer’s performance at the NCAAs.
Meyer followed up an outstanding Ivy League season with an 18th place finish at the NCAA Championships. His performance earned him All-American honors.
Ireland said Meyer has exceeded expectations throughout his four years at Yale.
“Lucas has taken his running to a level that no one expected from him based on his high school career,” Ireland said. “He ran with and beat other athletes that were the top athletes in not only the United States, but in other countries as well during their high school careers.”
Meyer turned in a time of 31:23.9 in the 10,000-meter race, making him the top finisher in both the Ivy League and the entire Northeast.
“I had a great time at NCAAs and I was very happy with my race,” Meyer said. “The course was muddy and the race was slow, so I just ran as tough as possible and it worked out pretty ideally.”
A number of Meyer’s friends and family made the trip to Terre Haute. Dantzer, who made the 15-hour drive from New Haven to Indiana with some teammates, was one of Meyer’s most enthusiastic fans.
“Luke’s been running hard here for four years and Monday’s race was sort of the culmination of all of that hard work,” Dantzer said. “The course was a mudpit after several days of heavy rain, and that was perfect for a madman like Luke. A lot of other guys folded when they saw the conditions but you could tell Luke was loving it.”
Meyer’s success at the NCAAs provided some vicarious satisfaction for the Elis. The Bulldogs had hoped to make it to the NCAAs as a team.
“This season has been filled with a few ups and a lot of downs,” Moriarty said. “There is no doubt that we fell short of many of our goals. However, I think everyone learned a lot about dealing with adversity.”