The women’s cross country team put together a ninth-place overall finish in the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown meet on Friday, Sept. 27. The meet provided a chance for Yale to race against some of the premier teams from the northeast as well as from across the country.
Providence, which entered as the Northeast Regional No. 1 ranked team, claimed the victory with 50 points. The win solidified the Friars’ ranking not only in the Northeast, but nationally as well. Providence received 11 out of a possible 12 first-place votes to claim the top ranking nationally.
West-coast power Oregon, ranked No. 5 in the country, came in second with 85 points. Two-time defending Ivy League champion Cornell rounded out the top three, finishing with 101 points.
Kira Garry ’15 led the way for the Bulldogs. She finished in 25th place in the 142-woman field. Garry’s time of 17:55 was even more impressive considering the fact that she shaved 31 seconds off her time at the Harvard-Yale meet on Sept. 14.
Liana Epstein ’14 was not far behind Garry, crossing the line in 18 minutes flat. Her time was good enough for a 30th overall finish. Epstein has been a consistent high-level performer for the Bulldogs throughout her career and head coach Amy Gosztyla said that she does not see that changing anytime soon.
“Epstein is definitely a leader for this team,” Gosztyla said. “[Epstein] is leading the charge and [Garry] is putting herself in that position as well with her performance.”
Hannah Alpert ’15 finished among the top third of runners, also demonstrating drastic personal improvement. At 18:24, Alpert cut a full 20 seconds off her Harvard meet performance. If anyone was more excited than Alpert herself, it was Gosztyla.
“Alpert had a breakthrough week,” Gosztyla said.
The Bulldogs also benefitted from the contributions of Chandler Olson ’17, who continued her strong freshman season. At 18:29 and 58th overall, Olson showed that she could be a valuable asset to the team not only down the road, but this year as well.
“I’m really grateful that I have the opportunity to race,” Olson said. “I’m excited to be able to make an impact on the team.”
Anna Demaree ’15 (18:45), captain Millie Chapman ’14 (19:04), Elizabeth McDonald ’16 (19:12) and Rachel Jones ’17 (20:19) rounded out the effort for the Elis.
But despite notable individual results, the team has yet to put it all together.
“We were disappointed from a team standpoint,” Gosztyla said. “If we can combine some of those performances from each meet, then that’s the type of team we’re capable of being … we’re slowly putting the pieces together and we’re getting better each week.”
With this week off, the Bulldogs will have ample time to rest and work on improving the team’s performance as a whole. Several members of the team agreed that the environment and the mood have been great, but that the issue has been forming a group identity.
“We are tight-knit and everyone is really supportive of one another,” Olson said. “It’s still early in the season so we need to stay positive and focused in order to really improve and move forward as a team.”
The Bulldogs will return to action on Oct. 12 at the New England Championships, which will be held at Franklin Park in Boston, Mass.