Courtesy of Yale Athletics

The Yale men’s and women’s cross country teams headed to Boston on Friday to compete in the NCAA Division I Northeast Regional Championships at Franklin Park. Running through rain and mud, the women’s team closed out their season with a fifth-place finish while the men’s squad placed tenth, both improvements over their 2019 finishes.

Kayley DeLay ’22 led the women’s team with a second-overall finish, clocking 20:28 on the 6K course. In an email to the News, DeLay noted the importance of trusting her training and keeping focus during the race as the keys to her race-day execution.

“The plan was to run regionals as if it was any other race,” DeLay wrote the News. “We focused on staying engaged and being competitive throughout the race.”

DeLay’s second-place finish marked a significant improvement over her last outing at regionals, a 19th-place finish in 2019.

Head coach Taryn Sheehan believed DeLay’s attitude was the key factor in her performance on Friday.

“It was a little bit of redemption for two years ago,” Sheehan told Yale Athletics. “This has been a goal of hers for a long time. We knew she was one of the best in the region, but you still have to do it on the day.”

The next two finishers from Yale came within a second of each other, with Maddie Ghazarian ’22 finishing 22nd at 21:14 and Zoe Nuechterlein ’21 finishing 24th at 21:15.

Nuechterlein credited the team’s gratitude for the opportunity to compete as a critical part of its motivation heading into regionals.

“We spent the year and a half before this semester training hard without actually knowing if we’d even get to compete this year,” Nuechterlein wrote. “We’ve all been so grateful to be back training and racing together.”

The women’s team closed their scoring with Kosana Weir ’23 coming in 44th (21:44) and Julia Dvorak ’24 in 68th (22:07). The Bulldogs’ score of 160 earned them fifth place among the field.

Robert Miranda ’22 led the men’s team with a 32nd-place finish in 31:20 on the 10K course. Though the weather conditions were far from perfect, the Elis took it as an opportunity to show their resilience and gain an edge over the competition.

“We ran solid, especially considering the conditions,” men’s head coach Paul Harkins told Yale Athletics. “Guys fought the whole way. If they went down, they popped back up and kept fighting.”

Sean Kay ’24 placed second for the Bulldogs, finishing his first year of competition with a 31:54 and earning 55th place. Brendan Murray ’22 finished 57th (31:57), Leo Brewer ’25 came in 73rd (32:18), and Will Laird ’22 closed Yale’s scoresheet with an 82nd-place finish (32:25). A score of 292 resulted in a 10th-place finish for the men’s team.

While regionals closed out the cross country season for everyone but DeLay, the Bulldogs can look forward to their first indoor and outdoor track seasons since the beginning of the pandemic. 

“We will likely all take a week or two weeks off of training before we look ahead to indoor track. Having some rest first is important in order to take more steps forward going into our next season,” Ghazarian wrote. “Indoor track is fun and high energy, I am looking forward to it.”

As for DeLay, she’ll be returning to her home state of Florida to compete in the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship on Saturday.

The race will take place at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, a course that DeLay has raced previously.

“I am looking forward to racing in a very competitive field and having the opportunity to return to my home state and run on possibly my most-raced course ever,” DeLay wrote. “The 5K course at Apalachee Regional Park was our state meet course every year in high school, so I have been there many times!”

Florida State University will be hosting the NCAA Championships on Saturday, and DeLay’s race will begin at 10:20 a.m. The race will be streamed on ESPNU.

Billy reports on hockey and cross country. He is a senior in Branford College from St. Petersburg, Florida, and he studies Applied Math.