Ten Bulldogs from each team competed in the gold race, the women in a field of 41 teams and the men in a field of 42 teams. Both the men and the women finished as the top Ivy League team in the meet.
“We were hoping to go into the meet and be the top Ivy League school there,” Emily Stark ’16 said. “We knew that Brown and Cornell were going to be formidable opponents, and that it’d take a good performance from everyone to beat them and execute our race plan.”
The women’s strong performance was due largely to depth and outstanding showings from both upperclassmen and freshmen.
Kira Garry ’15 led the Bulldogs with a ninth-place finish overall and a time of 20:14. Rounding out the top five were Dana Klein ’18, Emily Stark ’16, Samantha Glass ’18 and Kelli Reagan ’18. Garry credited the strong finishes with the team’s pre-race plan.
“Our coach told us around the number of places we should be,” Garry said. “At the mile, our coach told me I should be between 20th and 30th place, and Dana, Emily, Sami [and] Kelli to try to be between 40th and 60th [place].”
Additionally, over half of the runners on the women’s team earned personal records this meet.
Garry improved her previous six-kilometer personal record by over a minute — an impressive result given that the meet is so early in the season.
“I didn’t have a time goal going in,” Garry said. “I was really excited to see my time coming in, and I didn’t think I could run that fast this early. It makes me excited for Pre-Nationals.”
Despite the strong results so far, the women are still looking to improve and maintain consistency.
Stark said she believes the team needs more experience to be comfortable in different situations.
Garry added that she thinks the team needs to work on being less conservative in the middle of the race, and described this weekend’s race as a “huge confidence booster.”
The men’s team, meanwhile, was only three points away from a third-place finish. This was largely due to the Bulldogs’ top seven runners, who all placed in the top 66.
Kevin Dooney ’16 set the pace for the Elis with a seventh-place finish overall. Not far behind were Cameron Stanish ’18 and Duncan Tomlin ’16 who finished 25th and 29th overall respectively.
“We came in with a goal of winning, or at least we thought we could,” Stanish said. “We just weren’t quite far enough up in the race where we wanted to be. [Though] we didn’t get the win, we were able to stick with a lot of top teams.”
Stanish, who finished third on the team in his collegiate debut just three weeks ago at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet, continued his impressive season with his second place finish on the team.
The third freshmen overall in this meet, Stanish said he was surprised by his performance in just his second 8-kilometer race ever. He added that summer training helped him adjust to the collegiate training schedule.
Just like the women, the men’s team saw numerous personal records set in the meet.
Dooney, who placed first on the team for his second consecutive race, scored a personal record with his time of 23:55.
He noted while it is slightly unusual to set a new record so early, he was not too surprised because of his heavy training this summer and last year’s track season.
Boosted by these strong early performances, the men have high hopes for Pre-Nationals and the Ivy League Championships in a few weeks.
They also hope to qualify for the NCAA championships for the first time in Yale cross-country history.
“We’re fitter now than we’ve ever been before,” said Dooney. “Our goals haven’t changed, and this week is definitely a reflection that we’re closer to achieving those goals than we were last year.”
Both teams will next be in action this weekend at the New England Championships in Boston’s Franklin Park. The race starts at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday.