The Yale men’s and women’s cross country teams got a taste of elite competition this weekend when they faced off against some of the country’s top-ranked teams. The men competed at the Pre-National Invitational in Louisville on Saturday, although not enough Bulldogs crossed the line for the team to place in the team standings. The No. 27 women finished 20th of 33 teams on Friday at the Nuttycombe Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin.
Men’s cross country
Racing at Tom Sawyer State Park, the setting for the upcoming NCAA National Championships on Nov. 18, the Elis were given a preview of what might await them at the end of the season. In a field of over 280 runners, the first years led the way, making up the three top Bulldog finishers. Jonathan Lomogda ’20 was the standout runner, finishing 105th in the eight-kilometer race, with a personal-best time of 24:31.6.
“While the meet this weekend definitely didn’t go as we had hoped for the team, it was a great learning experience for everyone there,” Lomogda said. “It served as a kind of wake-up call and really showed me how much further I as an individual and the team can go when compared to the best in the country.”
The race was tightly packed for all competitors — just over 30 seconds separated Lomogda from 50th place. The sophomore ran his fastest eight-kilometer time of the season, besting his time at the Panorama Farms Invitational on Sept. 23.
The two Yale rookies who finished behind Lomogda also ran personal bests. Will Laird ’21 and Charlie Gardner ’21 finished within four seconds of each other. Laird ran in with a time of 24:50.0, and Gardner was right on his tail, coming in at 24:54.1. The two placed 144th and 153rd, respectively. Matt Chisholm ’18, who won the team’s season-opening meet against Harvard, came in 215th with a season-best eight-kilometer time of 25:25.6.
The remaining three runners entered in the race did not finish. As a result, Yale was disqualified from the team standings.
No. 2 Brigham Young University claimed the victory with a dominant 41-point performance. Top 15 teams rounded out the top four, with No. 7 Colorado, No. 8 Oregon and No. 12 Virginia Tech finishing behind the Cougars.
Two other Ivy League teams were present at the national meet. Brown finished 21st, and Dartmouth came in 38th out of 41 qualifying schools.
“We need to refocus and regroup for [the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships],” Lomogda said. “We just need to put ourselves in a good spot on the day of the race and do our best. We have the talent on this team to compete with any other Ivy.”
Women’s cross country
The No. 27 Bulldogs matched up against half of the nation’s top 30 at the Nuttycombe Invitational. Once again, Yale banked on Andrea Masterson ’19 and strong showings from first years to lead the way to a 20th-place finish against formidable opposition.
Masterson has been the leading the Elis in every race she has run this season and was the first Yale runner to cross the finish line in Wisconsin this Friday. She placed 61st out of over 230 runners, finishing in 20:53.9.
The two Bulldogs who followed Masterson were Sevanne Ghazarian ’21 and Kayley Delay ’21, first years who have made significant contributions to the team this season. Ghazarian finished seven seconds after Masterson; her time of 21:01.4 earned her 79th place. Delay also placed in the top 100 in 95th place. The two newcomers have scored for the Elis in every race they have run since making the jump from high school.
“The adjustment from high school to college has been challenging, but everything has been made easier with the help of the team,” Delay said. “The support and kindness they all give is uplifting and has most definitely been a contributing factor toward the strong performances by the first years.”
Dana Klein ’18 and Kate Raphael ’18 brought a veteran presence at the Nuttycombe Invitational as they rounded out the Bulldogs’ scorers. The duo finished within two seconds of each other as they came in 143rd and 148th, respectively. The Elis as a whole performed well among stiff competition. No. 3 New Mexico won with 87 points, followed by No. 5 San Francisco in second.
As a barometer for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships in a couple weeks, the Elis came in second among the four Ancient Eight teams present in Madison. They topped Penn and Harvard comfortably but lagged behind Columbia. The Lions placed 12th in the meet.
“A big takeaway for the team was to be a bit more confident in the first stage of the race,” Ghazarian said. “A lot of us felt we could have gone out a bit more aggressively to put ourselves in a better position to start moving up throughout the race. This is something we will look to do at [Ivies] and hopefully nationals.”
This weekend, the men and women will compete at the CCSU Mini Meet, their final meet before the season-ending championships.
Brian Yeo | firstname.lastname@example.org