Competing at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships this Saturday, the Yale women’s cross country team took fourth place while the men’s team stumbled in seventh.
Princeton, who hosted the meet, fared much better: Its men’s squad took the championship title while its women narrowly beat Yale to claim a third-place finish. Weather conditions during the meet were brutal for all teams. The wind whipped at up to 28 miles per hour while the rain turned the usually grassy track into a field of mud. Despite the climate, Yale women’s captain Andrea Masterson ’19 snagged the first-place individual title, edging out the runner-up from Columbia by six seconds with a time of 20:43. Masterson’s victory followed a tantalizingly close defeat at last year’s Heps, where she lost the first-place prize by half a second.
“It was very exciting that she won,” Jocelyn Chau ’22 said. “Last year, she came second by a very narrow margin, so it’s so great to see her take the title this year. She’s been very calm and someone to look up to in training so it’s been great having her.”
Masterson’s victory on Saturday continues her leading streak — she has crossed the line as the first Bulldog finisher in every competition of the season.
According to women’s head coach Amy Gosztyla, Masterson is one of six Yale women to have won the Ivy cross country title. Gosztyla noted Masterson’s steady improvements throughout her time as a Bulldog — specifically her climb in Heps, from 39th place to 17th to second, in her first three years at Yale.
“This was a performance that was built from four years of hard work, perseverance and dedication,” Gosztyla said. “On the day, she executed perfectly … Andrea broke away on the uphill climb with about 800 meters left to run, and never looked back. It was an incredible performance.”
Masterson’s teammates followed her closely, with Kayley Delay ’21 and Chau finishing in ninth and 10th places, respectively. Rounding out the Yale scorers were Morgan McCormick ’22 and Sevanne Ghazarian ’21, both of whom finished in the top 40. With the top five scores combined, Yale was only eight points away from a second-place finish.
The men’s team faced disappointment, finishing seventh out of eight teams. They only finished ahead of Cornell but they trailed behind Brown by a mere 12 points. Captain Trevor Reinhart ’19 led the Elis in a respectable 30th place, crossing the line with an 8K time of 25:25.9. First year Cade Brown ’22 followed Reinhart by three seconds, placing 32nd. Jonathan Lomogda ’20, Robert Miranda ’22 and Charlie Gardner ’21 made up the remainder of the top Yale scorers, all finishing close together in the top 50.
“The race was hard fought by everyone and even though the end result was not what we were shooting for, we came out with a lot of positives,” Brown said. “One of those positives was that the time between our first and fifth finishers was only about 18 seconds, the best we’ve had this season.”
Last year, when Van Cortlandt Park hosted Heps, the men’s team finished sixth and the women’s team grabbed third. In 2016, Heps resulted in a fifth-place finish for the men and a second-place title for the women.
Heps effectively concludes the Bulldogs’ Ivy League competitions, leaving them with just two more races before the season’s end. On Nov. 9, the Elis will compete at the NCAA Northeast Regional in Buffalo, and on Nov. 17, they will close out the season at the NCAA National Championships at the Thomas Zimmer Course in Madison, W.I.
“I continue to be impressed by our youth and especially the first years,” men’s coach Paul Harkins said. “We will continue to raise our expectations, and we look forward to our next opportunity at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship in Buffalo.”
Last year, Masterson qualified for Nationals as an individual, but the Bulldogs finished just short of an automatic qualifier as a team.
Valerie Pavilonis | email@example.com .