The glass is not half-empty just yet for the men and women’s cross country teams, who both finished in the bottom half of their respective races in the Bronx.
At the Heptagonal Championships, the Bulldogs managed to set both Ivy League and Yale records, despite the men’s eighth-place finish, with 170 points, and the women’s sixth-place finish, with 33 points. Women’s captain Lindsay Donaldson ’08 became the first runner in Bulldog history to obtain four first-team All-Ivy honors.
The men’s score from this weekend’s Heps is the best of any eighth-place team in the history of the race. Despite the honors, several players said they found the low finishes hard to swallow.
The Bulldogs’ last-place finish in the Ancient Eight race was a disappointment, Jared Bell ’09 said, but the team gave its best effort throughout the entire event.
“There was no point in the race where we really resigned ourselves to last,” he said. “We never let up, and we went after it the whole time. It just didn’t come together in the end.”
Jake Gallagher ’09 led the Elis with a 13th-place finish in 25:12 to earn second team All-Ivy honors. Chris Labosky ’10 crossed the line next, finishing 29th in 25:30. It was Labosky’s highest team finish this season after being the eighth man at the University of Maine Invitational and running in the non-varsity open race two weeks ago at Pre-Nationals.
“The team’s performance and my performance this weekend were sub-par,” Gallagher said. “Everyone knew where they should have finished, and, with the exception of Chris Labosky, no one did that.”
Gallagher said Labosky struggled with knee and ankle injuries last year, and the team was not surprised to see him perform at a higher level after recovering.
Captain Tadhg O’Callaghan ’08 came in third for the team, finishing 41st in 25:43. Bell and Murat Kayali ’09 rounded out the Eli pack, coming in 43rd and 44th, respectively.
The Bulldogs’ newly-set record is evidence of the high level of competition in the Ancient Eight this year. Princeton won the race with 38 points, followed by Cornell with 67 and Penn with 101.
“Each year, it is getting tougher to do well at Heps without any mistakes,” Bell said. “Everyone has to be there clicking on that day. You can’t have anyone underperforming when the gun goes off.”
Bell said the Ivy League Championship is always especially interesting because none of the athletes runs on scholarship, which levels the playing field.
The Tigers continued to dominate the entire race, sweeping all the top team and individual honors. In the women’s race, Princeton placed five runners in the top 10 to finish with 25 points.
Donaldson led the women’s team for the Elis, finishing third in 17:30 to obtain her All-Ivy honor. She was followed by Allyson Rinderle ’10 in 29th place and Ingrid Sproll ’08 in 31st place. Sproll beat her personal Heps record by 34 seconds.
“I was happy with my finish,” Sproll said. “But I think everyone was disappointed with the team finish. Our goal was to be as close to the top as we could. It wasn’t our best day, but we did have some good performances.”
Although Yale’s second through fifth runners finished in a 12-second span, it was a hard course for the teammates to run together, and creating a stronger team finish will be a priority for the upcoming races, Sproll said.
“Everyone is going to try to improve on their weaknesses from Heps,” she said. “We are going to put together a stronger team finish to reach our best and hopefully beat some teams that we saw this weekend in Regionals.”
Both the men and women’s teams will have an opportunity to face five of the seven Ivy League opponents on November 10 at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships at Franklin Park in Boston.
“We have to get ourselves together for the Regional Championship in two weeks,” Gallagher said. “We are going to go in there with redemption on our minds for those teams that put a spanking on us this weekend.”