Near the one-kilometer mark of the women’s collegiate race at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational, a group of runners fell directly in front of Caitlin Hudson ’13 and Kira Garry ’15. Unable to stop their momentum, the Bulldog athletes tripped, falling over the pack and getting trampled by other runners. Hudson and Garry recovered to finish sixth and seventh, respectively, for the Elis.
But their fall was one of the only stumbles for the No. 30 women’s cross country team on Saturday, which defeated seven ranked teams and finished in a tie for 13th place with Toledo out of 48 teams at the highly competitive meet. Nineteen of the top 30 women’s teams in the country competed in Madison, Wis. this weekend. The men’s team raced to a solid 40th place finish out of 45 teams, defeating Ivy League rivals Brown and Cornell in the process.
“The meet went really well,” women’s team captain Nihal Kayali ’13 said. “It was a racing environment that none of us have ever really been in because it was so many really, really high-quality teams and so that was different both in terms of how much good competition there was and also in terms of physical crowding.”
The women’s team scored 469 points, defeating not only seven ranked teams but also every other Ivy League opponent except for No. 9 Cornell. Millie Chapman ’14 and Liana Epstein ’14 led the way for the Bulldogs, covering the six-kilometer course in 20:27 and 20:30, respectively, to place four spots apart in 49th and 53rd. Kayali, Emily Stark ’16 and Elizabeth Marvin ’13, who finished 98th, 105th and 164th overall, respectively, followed. Head coach Amy Gosztyla remarked that Chapman, Epstein and Stark ran especially strong races.
With the high finish, the Bulldogs continue to establish themselves on the national stage just two weeks after climbing into the top 30 rankings for the first time in seven years. Kayali noted that while at the start of the season the team felt that it had the potential to compete with nationally-ranked teams, the Elis have been fortunate to have raced at a consistently high level throughout the season.
Still, Gosztyla cautioned against reading too far into the rankings.
“At the end of the day, they’re just rankings,” she said. “For us, really, the goal is just taking one race at a time and not getting too hung up on what the ranking actually is.”
Running after the women’s race, the men’s team scored 1042 points en route to a 40th-place finish. Matt Nussbaum ’15 paced the Elis, running the eight-kilometer course in 24:26 and finishing 131st overall. Three other Bulldog runners finished in less than 25 minutes: Demetri Goutos ’13, captain Kevin Lunn ’13 and Kevin Dooney ’16 finished 184th, 216th and 221st, respectively. John McGowan ’15 rounded out Yale’s top five, placing 290th overall.
“[The meet] was really something special,” Lunn said. “Definitely the biggest race I’ve been in, in college.”
Lunn added that the Bulldogs faced the best competition of his college career.