On Nov. 2, members of the men’s and women’s cross-country teams toed the starting line at West Windsor Fields in Princeton, N.J., waiting for the gun to go off for the beginning of the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship meet. But when the race did start, the two squads had mixed results: The men finished in fifth, good for their strongest performance since 2006, while the women dropped to eighth, last place in the conference.
But both teams were strong this past Friday at the NCAA Regional Championships. Held at the cross-country mecca of Van Cortlandt Park, in the Bronx, N.Y., regionals saw the Eli men finish in seventh — behind only three Ivy foes — and the women place 13th — good for fifth among Ancient Eight finishers.
“Things really clicked for the team at the end of the season which just shows us that the best is to come in the track season,” Kira Garry ’15 said in a message to the News.
Racing on a 10K course, three Bulldog men placed in the top 50 overall. Kevin Dooney ’15 paced the Elis, finishing 11th overall in 30:28.40, less than 17 seconds behind the race’s winner. Dooney received All-Region honors by placing in the top 25.
Also in the top 50 for the Bulldogs were John McGowan ’15 and Duncan Tomlin ’16, who finished 35th and 46th overall, respectively. Isa Qasim ’15 and James Randon ’17 rounded out the Bulldog top five, placing back-to-back in 54th and 55th overall, respectively.
While no Eli finisher from the women’s team nabbed a spot in the top 50, three Yale runners placed among the top-60 athletes. Garry led the way for the Bulldogs, covering the 6k course in 21:31.40. The junior’s performance was good for 54th overall, and she was followed closely by teammates Melissa Chapman ’14 and Meredith Rizzo ’17, who placed 57th and 60th overall, respectively.
Chandler Olson ’17 and Anna Demaree ’15 also finished in the Eli top five, recording overall finishes of 106th and 111th, respectively.
“I thought that as a team we were happy to end the season on a positive note even though we are not necessarily satisfied with our season,” Garry said. “I think people stepped up well and we put everything out there.”
Harvard’s Maxim Korolev won the men’s race with a time of 30:11.60, and Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino capture the women’s individual title in 19:48.30.
Because neither of the Yale teams’ performances was good enough to qualify for nationals, Saturday’s action marked the conclusion of the cross-country season for almost all of the Bulldog runners — for every Bulldog, that is, except Dooney. Dooney qualified for the Division I NCAA National Championship meet as an individual by recording one of the four fastest times as a runner on a non-qualifying team at his regional meet.
“It’s a pretty great honor to be representing Yale at nationals. It’s great to have a season’s worth of hard work pay off and to get a chance to run against the very best,” Dooney said in a message to the News.
Nationals will be held in Terre Haute, Ind. this Saturday. The gun will go off for the men’s race at noon.