Victory was sweet Saturday morning at the Fairfield Invitational cross country meet. Both Yale men’s and women’s cross country teams finished first in fields of nine and eight teams, respectively.
The women bested the likes of Rhode Island, Fordham, Fairfield and Bryant universities over the course of 5,000 meters.
Over their longer 8,000-meter race, the men decisively defeated Fordham, Fairfield, Southern Connecticut State and the University of Connecticut.
“It was a big confidence booster,” Jared Bell ’09 said.
In the women’s race, Stephanie Pearl ’10 scored her first collegiate individual victory with a time of 18:49.54. Bevin Peters ’09 held a close second (18:52.24). Coming in third for the Elis and fifth overall was Claire Leatherwood ’09, in 19:11.18.
In their first race wearing the blue, Madelin Adams ’12 and Anne Lovelace ’12 rounded out the top five for the Bulldogs with ninth and 10th places, respectively, overall.
The Bulldogs walked out with a total of 24 points. The second-place finisher, Rhode Island, had 65. (In cross country, scores are the sum of a team’s top-five finishers’ places. The lowest score wins. The impressive 41-point spread speaks to the Bulldogs’ domination of the field.)
“We have been focusing on pack running,” Peters said. It was this focus, she said, that allowed the Elis to win in such an impressive fashion.
As the team looks forward to Ivy League competition, Peters said she is thankful for the new freshmen.
“They are taking the challenge and being where they need to be,” she said.
Despite the fact that four of the top five men’s runners opted out of the first match of the season, the men showed as well as the women.
In the men’s 8k race, Murat Kayali ’09 and John Hinkle ’09 placed first and second, respectively, finishing side by side with a time of 25:13.
Julian Sheinbaum ’12, in his first race for Yale, came in third at 25:34. Max Walden ’11 and Max Brown ’10 placed seventh and ninth, respectively, to close out the Bulldogs’ top five.
The team won overwhelmingly, with only 20 points compared to second-place Fairfield’s 74.
Bell said the group ran well as a team Saturday.
Bell — one of the team’s top returners — opted to train for a few more weeks before entering a race.
“It was just a little too soon to start racing,” he said.
It was a coach’s call, explained Bell, and he said it gives the team more time to prepare before entering Ivy League competition against Harvard on Sept. 27 at home.
Bell, like Peters, is also excited about the freshmen.
“We kind of struggled the last couple of seasons, [but] it came together [this time],” he said.
“Jake McKenzie [’12] is a really talented kid, really great as a high-school runner.”
Bell was similarly impressed by Sheinbaum’s third-place finish.
“I’m even more fired up to throw out my very best,” Bell said about starting his senior year.
With only one shot left at an Ivy Title left in her career, Bevin is similarly focused. “I’m really optimistic [to] make my last year the best,” she said.