The Yale men’s cross country team concluded its regular season with a strong performance at the Central Connecticut State University Mini Meet, its last event before Saturday’s Ivy League Heptagonal Championships.
The Bulldogs — racing without their top performers, who are resting for Heps — finished third out of 15 teams and had five runners achieve personal bests. Despite a bevy of new records, the Elis were ultimately edged out by Boston University and host CCSU, which finished first and second, respectively.
“Our training has been going very well up to this point in the year,” James Lewis ’20 said. “I believe the personal bests run by our team are a reflection of the hard work we’ve put in this season.”
Lewis was one of two freshmen in the Elis’ top five: Peter Ryan ’20, who paced the seven runners from Yale, led the team with a time of 15:26.6. Ryan finished 15th overall and crossed the line just a second before Scott Meehan ’18, who ran a 15:27.6 and finished 16th overall. Meehan’s time was a personal best by more than 10 seconds.
Thomas Gmür ’18 finished in third place for the Bulldogs after running a 15:37.5, good for a personal best and 23rd overall. Merely six-tenths of a second behind the Switzerland native was Lewis, who blazed a personal best time of 15:38.1, eclipsing his previous record by more than 30 seconds.
Rounding out Yale’s top five finishers was Tim Cox ’17, who also beat his personal best by more than 15 seconds and trailed Lewis by only three-tenths of second. However, the largest improvement of the day was by Michael Yuan ’18, who beat his best mark by approximately 35 seconds.
Yale primarily sent runners to the CCSU Mini Meet who will not be competing in the Heptagonal Championships next weekend in order to allow its top flight of runners to focus on Saturday’s event. However, for those runners competing at this five-kilometer race, the meet is often used as a chance to claim one of the last remaining spots for the Elis’ heptagonal team. For the Bulldogs who are unable to earn a position in the Heps lineup, this event is the final cross country race of the season.
“It felt good to go out and compete well and run a [personal record] for my last ever collegiate cross country race, especially after being disappointed by my last race,” Cox said. “We can’t control how other teams run so we have to stick to our race plan and trust our fitness and that our coach has put us in the best position to succeed.”
The competition was tight for the Bulldog runners, as there was a mere 11.5 seconds of separation between their first and fifth place finishers. BU runner Paul Luevano led the pack, completing the race with a time of 14:51.2, more than 30 seconds ahead of the fastest Eli.
Coming off a strong performance at the meet, Ryan is in prime position for a spot on the Heps team after a second consecutive first-place finish for the Bulldogs. He also posted the fastest time at the New England Championships on Oct. 8.
“As for the Ivy League Championships, I’m going in hoping to help our team in any way possible, and I’m aiming to run a personal best for the 8k,” Ryan said. “I think that if we go into the race feeling relaxed and confident, we can race our best as a team, and we will be satisfied with the outcome.”
The men’s cross country team will compete at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships this Saturday in Princeton.