Although neither the men’s nor the women’s cross country teams came back with a first place victory this weekend, both teams returned from the race with confidence to boost the remainder of their seasons.

The Eli men and women traveled to Orono, Maine to participate in the Murray Keatinge Invitational this weekend. The men’s team finished in third place with 71 points, falling short only to New Hampshire and Dartmouth. The Eli women also performed well this weekend, securing a second place team finish with 74 points.

Jake Gallagher ’09 finished in first place securing his second individual victory this season.

With the meet held in Maine, the Canadian native had the opportunity to display his running skills for many of his friends and family to witness. Gallagher’s determination to perform well for his supporters ultimately inspired his fellow runners to achieve a third place finish in the race.

“We saw Jake pushing himself to perform well for his friends and family, and it was definitely a boost for the rest of the team,” Jared Bell ’09 said. “We should be pushing ourselves to where he is.”

Gallagher claimed the victory in the five-mile race in 24:57:20. John Hinkle ’09, who ran as the sixth man against Harvard last month, came in tenth place in 25:39:00 and was followed by Bell in 13th place in 25:44:00. Murat Kayali ’09 and Chris Scavone ’11 who finished 21st in 26:00:90 and 26th in 26:12:60 respectively rounded up the Eli scoring.

Overall, Yale head coach Dan Ireland was satisfied with the team’s performance at the event, though he said he wishes the outcome yielded a Yale victory.

“Our goal was to win, but this race was definitely a step in the right direction,” he said. “We performed much better than we did against Harvard, but this race does not change anything. We still have our same goal of being in the top four heading into the Ivy League Championship.”

Bell also acknowledged that the goal was to win, but said it was also important to show the competitors Yale’s strength coming into the Ivy League Championship. The Eli men are currently ranked 11th in the regional poll.

Even though the Bulldog women did not finish in first place, captain Lindsay Donaldson ’08 finished second overall in the 5000-meter race in 17:15:30. Bevin Peters ’09 completed the course in 12th place in 18:05:20, followed by Stephanie Pearl ’10 in 17th at 18:13:40. Rounding out the runners, Ingrid Sproll ’08 and Kelli Buck ’09 finished in 24th in 18:25:20 and 27th in 18:28:40, respectively.

According to Buck, the team showed great improvement from the past two races and intends to build on this victory for the rest of the season.

“We wanted to have a really solid team performance, and we finished very close together in the race this weekend,” she said. “It is a confidence boost for us mid-season as we prepare to see teams at the NCAA Pre-Nationals that we don’t face very often.”

The Eli women are ranked 10th in the regional poll for this week. The junior varsity cross country teams will travel this Saturday to Boston to compete at the New England Championships, while the varsity will be back in action at the NCAA Pre-Nationals in Indiana in two weeks.