The Eli men and women’s cross-country squads battled the elements and stiff competition at the annual Ivy League Heptagonal Championships this past weekend at Princeton and came up short.
Both teams went into the tournament with high aspirations. The women hoped to place in the top four for the first time since 2011, according to Kira Garry ’15. Given the presence of a strong freshman class and veteran leadership in captain Hannah Alpert ’15, Anna Demaree ’15, Alyssa LaGuardia ’15 and all-Ivy runner Garry, the Bulldogs had high expectations. The men’s team had equally lofty goals, though they ended up in the fifth spot, matching their 2013 performance.
First to race at the 11 a.m. start time were the women. The competition at the Heptagonal Championships – commonly referred to as “Heps” – was fierce. Dartmouth was a frontrunner with its nationally ranked team, while the rest of the field was very closely contested. Not surprisingly, Dartmouth cruised to a first place finish with an overall score of 47 points, followed by Princeton with 67 points, Columbia at a score of 95, Cornell at 108, Harvard at 119 and Yale at 130. Brown and Penn rounded out the field with scores of 153 and 178, respectively.
The Yale women ran valiantly in a close middle pack. The average time between the Bulldogs’ third and sixth place was just 13 seconds.
Leading the Bulldogs was Garry, who finished fourth with a time of 20:37.0 — an average speed of 5:31.7 per mile.
“I think my summer training helped me a lot for this fall’s season because I had a great summer of mileage and tempo workouts, and I was determined to work hard over the summer because I knew what goals I had coming into the season,” Garry said. “During the season, I think it means you have to make sacrifices sometimes and prioritize recovery — I feel that over four years I’ve been able to realize what works for me and know that sleep, recovery and coming out to practice every day confident to work hard is what helps me and our whole team run well when it counts.”
Garry’s hard work proved fruitful — she became the first Yale women’s runner to receive All-Ivy first-team recognition since 2007.
While the women were disappointed by finishing outside the top four, strong freshmen performances point toward future success for the Elis. Three freshmen finished in the top seven for the team, including Samantha Glass ’18, who finished 14th and earned All-Ivy second team honors, Dana Klein ’18 and Kelli Regan ’18.
Next up were the men, who faced an equally competitive field as the women had. The Columbia and Dartmouth teams especially presented tough rivalries for the Bulldogs. Yale finished with a final score of 123 points and total time of 2:05:03, edging Columbia, who also had an overall score of 123, but a total time of 2:05:09 — a six-second difference that earned Yale fifth place. They were led by Kevin Dooney’s ’16 all-Ivy first-team time of 24:33.6, which gave him fifth place individually.
According to Dooney, the course was wet and slippery from the rain, which had a noticeable impact on the field.
“[The course was] windy and in poor condition,” Dooney said. “The weather was definitely a factor across the board, causing everyone to slow down.”
At the Heps, Ryan Brady ’18, Casey Celestin ’18 and Hale Ross ’18 ran times of 26:11.0, 26:26.4 and 27:06.6, respectively.
Although the teams’ result at the Heps signified the culmination of a season’s hard work and effort, there is little time for the men and women to savor their performances.
The Bulldogs continue their season at the NCAA Regional Championship in the Bronx in two weeks time. They will also travel to Terre Haute, Indiana, to compete at the NCAA National Championships on Nov. 22.