The men’s cross country team is making a tradition of beating its neighbors in Cambridge.
For the past four years, the Elis have been victorious in this annual match-up, and Friday’s race added one more win to that record. The Bulldogs headed to Boston Friday afternoon and dominated Harvard’s team by a score of 21-34. Jake Gallagher ’09 had the fastest time in the whole race, crossing the finish line in 25:08. Brian Gertzen ’07 placed second with a time of 25:14, while Joseph Kingsbery ’08 and Murat Kayali ’09 both finished in fourth place, 11 seconds behind Gertzen. Andrew Pitts ’07 took ninth place with a time of 25:35, placing fifth of the Bulldogs’ top five runners.
Yale head coach Dan Ireland’s race plan of running as a pack was a great success, with the top four Bulldogs finishing within 18 seconds of each other, but some Elis said they felt they could have claimed the top five slots if it weren’t for a mistake late in the race around miles four to five.
“I think we could have swept the meet, but we let two Harvard runners get by us [then],” Pitts said.
But despite the Elis’ failure to claim the top five spots, their basic strategy proved victorious.
“We stayed up at the front, kept pushing the pace as a group,” Jared Bell ’09 said.
While key runner and team captain David Napper ’07 did race at the tournament, the Bulldogs are still waiting for him to fully recover from his injury. Napper sprained his ankle over the summer, preventing him from claiming his usual spot among the top five.
“It’s been tough [without him], but he’s always motivating us and he’s working to get back with us,” Bell said.
Members of the cross country team said they hope this big win in Boston is only the beginning. The Elis have high hopes for success in the Ivy League Championship Oct. 27.
“We want to be at least top three,” Pitts said.
And with this Harvard win out of the way and continued dedication from the Elis and coaching staff, this goal could very well become a reality.
“Our goals are to keep progressing steadily, keep improving our times, and stay healthy, so that we’re ready to run our fastest come Ivy League Championships,” Bell said.