Courtesy of Tom Connelly

Concluding their regular seasons by competing at the Pre-National Invitational, the Yale men’s and women’s cross country teams raced Saturday at the Thomas Zimmer Course in Wisconsin.

The meet came on the heels of the Paul Short Invitational, where the women’s team snagged first place and the men’s team took eighth. However, at the Pre-National Invitational, both squads posted disappointing results, with the women’s top-ten streak broken by an 11th-place finish and the men finishing in a distant 29th. Yet despite the results, the Bulldogs remained optimistic, hoping to improve their performance in the upcoming Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, colloquially known as Heps.

“We packed up and worked pretty well as a group but we settled too much in the middle of the race,” men’s coach Paul Harkins said. “In a field of that caliber that cost us a lot of spots. Sometimes you have to take a few lumps before you make the jump to the next level … We are really looking forward to Heps in two weeks as we continue to develop confidence and faith in ourselves and each other.”

The Elis faced fierce competition, running against some of the top teams in the NCAA such as No. 1 Colorado and No. 5 Stanford. Last year, the women’s team came in 20th at the same course, while the men’s 2017 performance at the Pre-Nationals was marred by sickness and injury. Thus, despite a disappointing performance, compared to last year, the Bulldogs improved significantly.

Women’s captain Andrea Masterson ’19 led her team in a race for the third time this year, continuing her streak as the Bulldogs’ top finisher and crossing the line with a time of 20:52. Masterson was followed by Jocelyn Chau ’22, Sevanne Ghazarian ’21 and Kayley Delay ’21, all of whom finished in the top 100. Rounding out the first five Yale finishers was Jane Miller ’20, who is also a staff reporter for the Yale Daily News.

The Bulldogs faced considerably difficult running conditions, with frigid temperatures that dipped well into the thirties. Used to training in the relatively moderate climate of New Haven, the Elis struggled in the cold.

“I think maybe we weren’t all that prepared to face that sort of weather … but I think we all put in our best effort given the conditions,” Chau said. “We have a good chance at winning Heps.”

On the men’s team, Trevor Reinhart ’19 finished first, crossing the line in the top 150 with a time of 25:21.3. Six seconds behind Reinhart was Robert Miranda ’22, continuing a top finishing streak on his team similar to Masterson’s. Jonathan Lomogda ’20, Cade Brown ’22 and Allen Siegler ’20 followed closely behind Miranda with all four runners finishing in a tight pack. Siegler trailed behind Reinhart by a mere 23 seconds.

Tight spreads help to maximize team points, especially at larger meets, since they prevent other teams from winning by small margins.

“Our spread from our first runner to our last runner was below thirty seconds, which is [a] really strong and significant asset to have, especially in smaller races like Ivy League Heps,” Reinhart said. “It’s definitely a bittersweet moment because the race showed a lot of potential but at the same time showed that we have a lot of things we need to concentrate on in order for that potential to manifest itself.”

The top Yale runners will compete at the Heps Championship at Princeton on Oct. 27, with the lower flights representing Yale at the CCSU Mini Meet on Oct. 19 in New Britain.

Valerie Pavilonis | .