Before Sunday’s New England Championships at Stanley Park in Massachusetts, Jacob Sandry ’15 decided that he would try to reverse a tendency he had noticed in his running — slowing down in the middle of races.
This time, when the top runners set a brisk pace, Sandry attempted to stick with them for the entire race. The decision paid off, and Sandry broke his personal record by more than a minute and finished in the race’s top 10 with a time of 24:36.45 over the eight-kilometer course.
Even while resting most of their top runners, the men’s and women’s cross-country teams managed impressive results at Sunday’s New England Championship meet. Racing against 37 teams from the region, the No. 30 women’s team accumulated 218 points en route to a sixth place finish, while the men scored 142 points to place third.
Running with a national ranking for the first time in seven years, the women’s team led off the day without several of its top runners, as head coach Amy Gosztyla opted to rest them before the team’s national invitational meet this coming weekend. Yet the squad still managed to greatly improve on its results at last year’s New England Championships, where it finished 16th.
Gosztyla characterized the meet as an opportunity for Bulldog runners outside the team’s top group to compete in a high-level meet.
“It was a really, really good race for kind of the more developmental group that’s looking to build and get better, to be breaking into that varsity group over the course of the season and the year to come,” she said.
Among others, Gosztyla noted that Anna Demaree ’15 gave a superb effort, especially given that the meet was her first cross-country race of the season. Demaree finished first among the Bulldogs and 14th overall, covering the five-kilometer course in 17:45.86.
“Personally, I’m just really happy to be racing again,” Demaree said. “Every time … we step on the line, there’s just a lot of positive energy and a lot of excitement about where we are as a team and where we’re headed.”
Isabel Amend ’16, Annelies Gamble ’13, Hannah Alpert ’15 and Jacqueline Sahlberg ’13 rounded out the top five for the Bulldogs, finishing 21st, 47th, 65th and 71st overall, respectively.
Although men’s team head coach Paul Harkins also chose to rest many of the team’s top runners, the team mustered a third-place finish.
“The meet was great,” Sandry said. “Why we run is to prove to ourselves that we can challenge ourselves on an everyday basis to build towards something bigger.”
Sandry paced the Bulldog runners and finished 10th overall. Matthew Thwaites ’13, Sam Kirtner ’13 and Duncan Tomlin ’16 followed, placing 27th, 31st and 32nd overall, respectively. Isa Qasim ’15 represented the last scoring runner for the Bulldogs but finished less than 45 seconds behind Sandry and 42nd overall.
Sandry noted that the meet showcased the team’s depth, a sentiment that Harkins echoed.
“On any given day there’s a couple of guys that ran in that second group who could potentially be in our top group,” Harkins said. “But Jacob [Sandry] showed that he should be probably in that top group when he’s running well.”
The men’s and women’s cross country teams will continue their seasons this Friday at the Wisconsin Invitational in Madison, Wis.