After a series of last-minute course alterations, both of Yale’s cross country teams took their places at the starting line, eager to compete for a spot at NCAA nationals.
The conditions in Buffalo last Friday for regionals were not ideal for racing. It was both cold and windy, and no one anticipated the drama prior to the race. Rather than racing on the golf course, which was covered in snow, the runners ran along the road. In spite of this change, both teams performed well but neither could qualify. Although the overall results were not representative of their abilities, there were still many positive takeaways from the day.
“Any race in November is going to be cold, but the roads made for a really fair race,” Robert Miranda ’22, the top finisher for Yale, said. “As a team, we started really aggressively. We established a strong top five at the back of the lead pack between myself, Nick Dahl, Brendan Murray, Cade Brown and Hugh Sadler. When we were able to work together, it felt just like practice, but I think we got a little carried away in the first few miles and paid for it later on.”
It was an unfortunate end to the season for the Bulldogs, but there were many positives along the way. For such a passionate group of runners, finishing 12th was not what they wanted.
But with track season right around the corner, the men’s team is ready to regroup. The Elis’ progress in the last few months will only help them start their indoor season well.
“This season we showed the region that we have a core of young, hungry runners who are going to be a headache for everybody else for years to come,” Nick Dahl ’21 said. “We are by no means going to slow down, and we only stand to improve from here on out. This season was a stride into the conversation, and a demand for respect for several of our underrated runners. Now, we can take the progress we made and use it to propel us towards next season, which starts in a mere two weeks.”
The women’s team also made significant progress since last season, finishing just outside the top five. Throughout the season, top finishes from Kayley DeLay ’21 and Jane Miller ’20 showed the Bulldogs’ potential to qualify for nationals.
The team had set its sights on qualifying, and there was a good chance that the runners would make the cut, having beaten Harvard and Cornell — the first- and second-place finishers, respectively — earlier in the season. But it wasn’t their day.
Despite the Bulldogs’ sixth-place finish, team members are keeping their heads up and looking ahead to next season.
“If we had a different day we could have been right there,” Miller said. “However, I could not be more proud of the entire team and more grateful to have had a season like this one with these strong and wonderful women.”
The indoor track season starts on Dec. 7.
Rehan Melwani | firstname.lastname@example.org