Following a promising start to the season, the Yale cross country teams traveled up the coast to Boston this Saturday for the New England Championships. Despite resting a few of their primary contributors, the women’s team — ranked No. 27 nationally — finished 14th out of 28 teams, while the men’s team finished ninth out of 27.
The meet, held at Franklin Park, served as a good barometer for the Elis, who only have three weeks left until the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. Women’s head coach Amy Gosztyla used thirteen runners across a varsity and sub-varsity squad. The varsity group displayed its ability to run as a contingent, with all five scorers finishing within 30 seconds of one other en route to a middle-of-the-pack finish in the five-kilometer race.
“The team was tough and overall performed pretty well in very hot and humid conditions,” Emily Kaplan ’19 said. “It was good to get out there and race again, and I think we took a good step forward last weekend. The goal now is to focus on the CCSU Mini Meet, and, for some of the racers from last weekend, Heps.”
The Bulldogs’ standout at the championships was Jane Miller ’20, a staff reporter for the News whose personal-best time of 19:08 made her the team’s top scorer on the day for the first time in her Yale tenure. Miller was the 51st runner to pass the end marker out of 194 finishers.
The race ended in an extremely tight pack, as she was closely followed by Gabrielle Rinne ’19, who only trailed Miller by four seconds but finished six spots back in 57th. Similarly, the Elis’ next finisher, Kaplan, ran the course in 19:18 for a 65th-place finish. Fourteen women crossed the finish line in the ten seconds dividing Miller and Kaplan.
The fourth-scoring member for the team was Julia Borowski ’18, who came in at 79th with a time of 19:32. Hannah Steffke ’20 and Zoe Nuechterlein ’21 rounded out the team’s finishers. Once again, Yale’s pack-running prowess shone, evidenced by the mere 28 seconds that separated the team’s first- and fifth-place finishers.
Among the sub-varsity runners, Calleigh Higgins ’18 strode ahead of the rest. She placed 19th with a time of 19:36, which would have been good for 83rd in the varsity race.
As a whole, the women’s team tallied a total of 335 points, 224 points worse than the meet’s winners, University of New Hampshire. The only other Ivy League representation came from Dartmouth, who placed ninth. The Bulldogs were the only nationally ranked competitors at the championships, though they did not race many key runners, including Andrea Masterson ’18 and captain Kelli Reagan ’18.
The men’s team, which also did not field its top seven runners for the meet, relied on strong performances from underclassmen to propel it to a ninth-place finish. Armstrong Noonan ’20 emerged from the pack to become the first Yale runner to place in the eight-kilometer race. His time of 25:46 was enough for him to finish in 18th place among 180 competitors.
“This past weekend we wanted to focus on establishing ourselves at the front of the pack and run with confidence,” Noonan said. “I think we were able to accomplish quite well. This team is very well prepared to do extraordinarily well at Heps.”
On his tail was Neil Braganza ’21, who was the second first year to cross the line out of the entire field. Braganza placed 21st, coming in at a time of 25:52. He was followed by Ryan Brady ’18, Austin Stoner ’20 and Michael Yuan ’18, who closed out the Bulldogs scorers on Saturday.
The Elis, who tallied 247 points as a unit, finished in ninth place, which was a promising performance for the team. Yale was only six points from seventh-place UMass Lowell. The team has displayed great depth, especially considering the performances of its younger members, who could prove particularly important at Heps.
“It truly shows how deep of a team we are when we can go to a major meet like this with a B squad and still come in the top 10,” Stoner said. “We have been working so hard as a pack this year and I think it has been a huge part of our success that we can rely on our teammates in races to work with and push with. If we were able to get ninth place on a not ideal day this weekend, I think everybody will be pretty impressed with what our top guys can do on a national stage in meets to come.”
The New England Championships were the Elis’ third meet in the season, and only two more remain until Heps. Ahead of championship season, the women will compete at the Wisconsin Invite while the men have Pre-Nationals, and then both squads will travel to New Britain for the CCSU Mini Meet.
The women’s team will run next at 12:20 p.m. this Friday in Madison, while the men will head to Louisville for a Saturday meet.
Brian Yeo | firstname.lastname@example.org