Tag Archive: Cross Country

  1. Elis wrap up regular season

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    The Yale men’s cross country team concluded its regular season with a strong performance at the Central Connecticut State University Mini Meet, its last event before Saturday’s Ivy League Heptagonal Championships.

    The Bulldogs — racing without their top performers, who are resting for Heps — finished third out of 15 teams and had five runners achieve personal bests. Despite a bevy of new records, the Elis were ultimately edged out by Boston University and host CCSU, which finished first and second, respectively.

    “Our training has been going very well up to this point in the year,” James Lewis ’20 said. “I believe the personal bests run by our team are a reflection of the hard work we’ve put in this season.”

    Lewis was one of two freshmen in the Elis’ top five: Peter Ryan ’20, who paced the seven runners from Yale, led the team with a time of 15:26.6. Ryan finished 15th overall and crossed the line just a second before Scott Meehan ’18, who ran a 15:27.6 and finished 16th overall. Meehan’s time was a personal best by more than 10 seconds.

    Thomas Gmür ’18 finished in third place for the Bulldogs after running a 15:37.5, good for a personal best and 23rd overall. Merely six-tenths of a second behind the Switzerland native was Lewis, who blazed a personal best time of 15:38.1, eclipsing his previous record by more than 30 seconds.

    Rounding out Yale’s top five finishers was Tim Cox ’17, who also beat his personal best by more than 15 seconds and trailed Lewis by only three-tenths of second. However, the largest improvement of the day was by Michael Yuan ’18, who beat his best mark by approximately 35 seconds.

    Yale primarily sent runners to the CCSU Mini Meet who will not be competing in the Heptagonal Championships next weekend in order to allow its top flight of runners to focus on Saturday’s event. However, for those runners competing at this five-kilometer race, the meet is often used as a chance to claim one of the last remaining spots for the Elis’ heptagonal team. For the Bulldogs who are unable to earn a position in the Heps lineup, this event is the final cross country race of the season.

    “It felt good to go out and compete well and run a [personal record] for my last ever collegiate cross country race, especially after being disappointed by my last race,” Cox said. “We can’t control how other teams run so we have to stick to our race plan and trust our fitness and that our coach has put us in the best position to succeed.”

    The competition was tight for the Bulldog runners, as there was a mere 11.5 seconds of separation between their first and fifth place finishers. BU runner Paul Luevano led the pack, completing the race with a time of 14:51.2, more than 30 seconds ahead of the fastest Eli.

    Coming off a strong performance at the meet, Ryan is in prime position for a spot on the Heps team after a second consecutive first-place finish for the Bulldogs. He also posted the fastest time at the New England Championships on Oct. 8.

    “As for the Ivy League Championships, I’m going in hoping to help our team in any way possible, and I’m aiming to run a personal best for the 8k,” Ryan said. “I think that if we go into the race feeling relaxed and confident, we can race our best as a team, and we will be satisfied with the outcome.”

    The men’s cross country team will compete at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships this Saturday in Princeton.

  2. Bulldogs finish on top at CCSU

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    The No. 21 Yale women’s cross country team finished the regular season with a dominant performance at the Central Connecticut State Mini Meet this past weekend.

    The Bulldogs came first in both the varsity and junior varsity races by wide margins, outrunning 17 and eight teams, respectively. The team’s score in the varsity race was particularly impressive — the runner up, Boston College, finished with a score of 105, 80 points greater than Yale’s score of only 25. In the junior varsity race, meanwhile, the Elis finished five points ahead of second place New Hampshire, and Jane Miller ’20 finished first in the field of 88 runners with a time of 10:45.5.

    “It was amazing to see how well the runners did in the JV race,” Emily Barnes ’17 said. “It definitely put the pressure on us seniors to do well ourselves, and their success really got us pumped up.”

    In the varsity race, Gemma Shepherd ’20 led the team and finished third overall in a field of 127 runners, crossing the finish line with a time of 10:12.8. At three kilometers, this race was shorter than most of the tracks that the Bulldogs run throughout the season, and Shepherd, who is ranked third nationally in the UK in this distance, has excelled at this type of track before.

    Shepherd had a strong start off the line, pulling ahead of the other runners to lead the pack for the first lap and was right on the heels of second-place Keelin Hollowood of Providence, crossing the finish line only 0:00.5 seconds behind her competitor.

    “I enjoyed the first lap as I felt strong,” Shepherd said. “It was also great to have the support of the team to cheer me [on]. But despite the shorter distance, it was still hard work holding onto a faster pace.”

    The rest of the scoring Bulldogs finished the race in a tight pack, taking fourth through seventh place. Kate Raphael ’17 finished fourth with a time of 10:22.1, followed by Melissa Fairchild ’18, Sarah Healy ’18 and Barnes, who finished just 2.2 seconds after Raphael.

    The ability to run together in groups has been a focus of training, and this has helped the Elis to victories in previous meets.

    “I think the biggest takeaway from the meet was just how strong our pack was in both the varsity and sub-varsity races,” Healy said. “In the varsity race we ran together for pretty much the whole race, which demonstrates how we can draw upon each other as motivation when the race starts to get tough.”

    While Miller, Emily Kaplan ’19 and Kate Zendell ’19 finished out front of the junior varsity, the next three members finished within four seconds of each other, coming in eighth, 10th and 11th.

    Barnes said this is the most cohesive team that she has raced with in her four years as a Bulldog, and the pack mentality helped the team to recover from a slightly slow start and to finish strong.

    “It’s a special year for the team in terms of our ability to work together,” Barnes said. “We have a lot of positive energy, but its focused rather than frantic and excited. The strength of our pack means that pressure is taken off any one runner, because everyone on the team understands that we have to pull our own weight and win together as a team.”

    This was the last race before the Bulldogs compete at the Heptagonal Championships at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, New York.

  3. CROSS COUNTRY | Epstein ’14 leads the pack

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    As Liana Epstein ’14 headed to the starting line of the women’s cross-country meet against Harvard on Friday, she was gripped by a strong sensation of déjà vu, she later said.

    Epstein did not yet know that, in under 18 minutes, the team would crush the Crimson, taking six of the top seven places in the race. She did not realize she would emerge as the winner with a personal-best of 17:24.78 for the 5-kilometer course. At the starting line, Epstein thought back to her first meet at Yale little more than a year before, when she shrugged off a year of injuries to lead the Bulldogs to their first victory against Harvard since 2006.

    Epstein felt the same nervousness before the meet, the same drive to perform against Yale’s arch rival. Nerves, she said, can be turned into positive energy that propels the competitor through a strong race. Indeed, nerves worked well for the three-season athlete the last time she found herself facing Harvard in cross country.

    “I knew what teammates I had been working out with and where I should be, but when you step on the line, nothing premeditated really matters,” Epstein said.

    Epstein launched into action.

    The Elis stayed in a pack, a strategy encouraged by head coach Amy Gosztyla, who joined the team last year. Seeing six of her teammates surround her while she ran the race was encouraging, Epstein said.

    Gosztyla added that she was impressed with the team’s ability to stay together.

    “There was definitely more blue than crimson up in that front pack,” Gosztyla said. “That’s what we were looking to do.”

    In the end, according to Gosztyla, the race came down to the last 600 meters.

    Epstein stepped up and began to pull away from the pack. She was neck and neck with the Crimson’s lead runner Samantha Silva, but in the end, Epstein overpowered her opponent. Silva finished in 17:25.58, less than a second behind Epstein.

    “Liana just took off,” teammate Millie Chapman ’14 said. “It was awesome. I saw her go and I thought, ‘Yes! She’s going to kill it!’”

    Before high school, Epstein never would have imagined winning a college cross-country meet. She played soccer for 13 years and her goal, she said, was to be the next Mia Hamm. But she stumbled into cross-country during her freshman year of high school when she decided joining the indoor track team would be a good way to train for soccer. Ready for something new, she chose to start cross country her sophomore year of high school instead of soccer, and she never looked back.

    Epstein was a district and regional champion in both cross country and track during her high school days in northern Virginia. But despite her many accomplishments, her path to Yale was not without difficulty. Epstein suffered a stress fracture in her foot that took her out of the starting blocks and onto the sidelines during her senior year.

    “I sat through state meets and watched people run my races and wondered what would have happened if I was healthy,” Epstein said.

    But she added that she was glad she had experienced injuries before coming to college. When some minor injuries and a hip labral tear took her out of competition for all three seasons — cross country, indoor track and outdoor track — her freshman year, Epstein said her experience with injuries in high school made the circumstances more manageable.

    On Sept. 17, 2011, Epstein headed to the starting line of her first race in more than a year at the Harvard meet in Franklin Park, Mass., which last year also included Princeton.

    “Before the race, there was a big question mark in my head,” Epstein said. “What’s going to happen today? Am I still the same type of competitor?”

    Epstein took a close second, finishing just six seconds behind Princeton’s top runner, then-senior Alex Banfich. Since then, Epstein has continued to improve, Gosztyla said. She won the Princeton Invitational in October, led the Bulldogs to a fourth place finish in the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and finished first for Yale in the NCAA regionals, where the Bulldogs took sixth.

    In indoor track, she qualified for the ECAC championships in the 3-kilometer race and defeated Harvard in the same event during the outdoor track season.

    Epstein is a very balanced runner, Gosztyla said. In addition to displaying a great level of maturity and focus in training, Epstein also exerts a “tremendous influence” for the other members of the team. Chapman added that Epstein lifted her teammates’ spirits when she would show up to practice in a crazy outfit and dance to her own fun playlists.

    “It’s great to see someone who can work so hard, have so much fun and be so successful,” Chapman said. “I am so happy for her.”

    Epstein remains cognizant of the other members of the team who are overcoming their own injuries. Her primary goal for this season, she added, is to stay healthy.

    Even while battling toward victory against Harvard, Epstein said she thought about her teammates who did not make it onto the course.

    “I thought about people who were not running on that day for other reasons, whether because they were injured or because it wasn’t their time,” Epstein said. “There were a good number of people who would give anything to be in my position, and that has to be worth something.”

  4. CROSS COUNTRY | Home, sweet home for women’s XC


    Racing on their home course for the first time in two years, the men’s and women’s cross-country teams hoped to capitalize on the momentum gained from last week’s victories at the Fordham Fiasco. The teams had extra motivation: On Friday, they faced their archrival Harvard at the Course at Yale in a dual meet.

    The women’s team took advantage of the opportunity, dominating Harvard’s squad en route to a 21-point win; the men’s team took a slight step back, losing their race by 17 points.

    The women’s team continued its strong start to the season, placing all five of its scoring runners among the top six overall finishers for a score of 19 points. Liana Epstein ’14 paced the squad, finishing the five-kilometer course in 17:24.78 and winning the individual title. Samantha Silva of Harvard finished second behind Epstein but also represented Harvard as its only runner in the top seven. Captain Nihal Kayali ’13, Caitlin Hudson ’13, Melissa Chapman ’14 and Elizabeth Marvin ’13 finished third, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

    “There were only 23 seconds or so between our number one and our number five,” said Kayali, “which is a really nice sign in terms of us being able to train as a pack [and] race as a pack.”

    Head coach Amy Gosztyla echoed that sentiment. “What I’m most excited about is that the girls really did work together,” she said.

    The meet held special significance for Gosztyla, as she coached cross country at Harvard before departing to become head coach at Yale in the summer of 2011. Yet the coach also looked past this meet, saying that the team’s early season performance propels it into the mix among the top teams in the Ivy League.

    “This really sets the tone for us for the rest of the season,” Gosztyla said.

    With the win, Yale defeated Harvard in the dual meet for the second straight year. Before then, the Bulldogs had not defeated the Crimson in the annual meet since 2006.

    The men’s team is still looking to make its mark in the Ivy League following Friday’s race.

    When asked about the men’s race, head coach Paul Harkins said, “We’ve had better days.”

    While the team managed to place three runners in the top six, the Bulldogs could not hold off a Harvard squad that finished with the top three spots in the race. Harvard’s Maksim Korolev ’15 won the individual title, covering the eight-kilometer course in 24:20.39, while captain Kevin Lunn ’13 led Yale’s runners by finishing in fourth place. Demetri Goutos ’13 and Matthew Nussbaum ’14 finished right behind Lunn in fifth and sixth place, respectively, and Matt Thwaites ’13 and Timothy Hillas ’13 rounded out the Bulldogs’ top five in eleventh and twelfth place.

    “We had some ups and downs,” Harkins said. “We needed some back-up for those guys [running at the front of the race] and it didn’t happen today.”

    The defeat hardly signals disaster for the team, however. Harkins noted that the dual meet setting does not play to the strengths of a Yale team that relies on tight packs and depth. The defeat still frustrated the team, Harkins said.

    “Our guys like to win,” Harkins added. But he offered reassurance in saying, “I will guide them towards the end of the year.”

    The men’s and women’s cross country teams will continue the season on Sept. 28 at the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa. The teams will take on the entire Ivy League, except for Columbia’s women’s team.

  5. CROSS COUNTRY | Yale storms competition


    As rain soaked the men’s and women’s cross country teams during their Saturday warmups, captain Kevin Lunn ’13 referenced t-shirts worn by the football team that read, “No one’s ever drowned in sweat.”

    “No one’s ever drowned in water,” he said.

    The cross-country teams did neither on Saturday, scorching the competition at the Fordham Fiasco meet in New York City’s Van Cortlandt Park en route to first place finishes for both teams.

    The women’s team ran first, scoring just 17 points to finish 41 points in front of second-place Rider University.

    “It went fantastic,” head coach Amy Gosztyla said. “We dominated.”

    Gosztyla added that the meet was, “A really good start for everyone as a whole.”

    Millie Chapman ’14 won the women’s individual title, covering the five-kilometer course in 18:19.32.

    Captain Nihal Kayali ’13 said that Chapman defended her title with the victory, having won the race the prior year. Kayali added that defending a title is rare in cross country races.

    Elizabeth Marvin ’13, Emily Stark ’16 and Caitlin Hudson ’13 swept the next three spots, and Sarah Barry ’15 placed seventh to round out Yale’s top five. Kayali said that Stark’s third place finish was particularly impressive given the transition from high school to collegiate cross country running.

    The team’s performance seemed especially remarkable given its approach to the meet and the stormy weather. “The team went in with a conservative race plan, and they executed it really well despite the pretty poor conditions,” said Kayali.

    Following the tone set by the women’s race, the men’s team finished 46 points in front of Fordham to win the meet by scoring only 18 points. “The competition wasn’t quite as strong as it was a year ago,” said head coach Paul Harkins, “but I didn’t necessarily expect us to have six guys in the top seven.”

    Matthew Nussbaum ’15 paced the Bulldogs over the length of the eight-kilometer men’s course, winning the individual title in 26:10.53. Lunn followed close behind to finish second, and Kevin Dooney ’16, Timothy Hillas ’13 and Jacob Sandry ’15 placed fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively. Harkins said that the race marked the first cross country race in the career of Hillas, captain of the men’s track and field team. Lunn said that Dooney was a runner to keep an eye on, as he raced at junior world nationals this past summer.

    Both teams noted that the level of competition will not be the level they will face the rest of the season. Gosztyla said that many of the teams featured in the meet ran in Divisions II and III, and that the team she expected to be the primary competition, Columbia, wound up competing at another meet.

    Even so, Kayali and Harkins offered reasons to be excited about the results for both teams. Harkins said the meet proved that the team is better prepared than it was at this point in the season last year, while Kayali said the results were encouraging for what is to come. The men’s and women’s cross-country teams continue the season this Friday in a dual meet against Harvard at the Yale Golf Course.

  6. CROSS COUNTRY | Yale teams aim for nationals


    With the cross country teams hoping to make the national championships for the first time in team history, the women’s team is determined to capitalize on its successes from last year, while the men’s team aims to improve upon a series of low league finishes.

    Last season, the women’s team skyrocketed from one of the worst in the Ivy League to a major championship contender. Under new head coach, Amy Gosztyla, the team reversed its streak of three consecutive last-place finishes at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (Heps), placing a hard-fought fourth. Two weeks later, the Bulldogs ended the season, by finishing sixth at NCAA Regionals, the team’s best result since 2005.

    “Everyone on the team was very focused and shared a belief that we could turn the program around,” team captain Nihal Kayali ’13 said. “It definitely paid off last year.”

    Kayali said that this year she expects the team to do even better: While last season, Gosztyla jumped into her role without a full understanding of the team and how it best responds to training, she now has a year of Yale coaching experience under her belt.

    In addition, each of last season’s top seven Bulldog finishers has returned this year. Kayali said the graduating seniors provided great leadership but did not rack up many points for the team. Many of the fastest runners — including Kayali and last year’s All-Northeast Elizabeth Marvin ’13 — are entering their senior year, providing an extra incentive for the team to do well.

    “We want to go out with a bang and end on a high note,” Marvin said.

    By the time this year’s Heps rolls around at the end of October, the team plans to challenge for the title. Kayali said the team aims to improve upon last year’s fourth-place finish and break into the top three, ideally finishing first if possible.

    “Now we’ve shown ourselves to be contenders,” Kayali said. “It’s not just something to believe in anymore. It’s more concrete.”

    The men’s team has not finished in the top half of the Ivy League since 2006, and the Bulldogs have seen similar disappointments at the regional level. While the Elis began the season with a new head coach, Paul Harkins, the team placed sixth at Heps and 11th at NCAA Regionals.

    “We’re a team with a lot of talent, but we’ve underperformed at key meets,” Michael Cunetta ’14 said. “For the last four or five years, we have been in the lower end of the Ivies, when really we shouldn’t be that far down.”

    Team captain Kevin Lunn ’13 said that the many changes Harkins has inspired have not really taken hold until this season. Harkins stresses recovery and slow consistent progress in a sport where injury can take a runner out of the game for a season or longer.

    This year, the team has one fewer intense workout a week so its athletes can approach, but not exceed, their personal limits.

    “You don’t get faster by killing yourself in a workout,” Lunn said. “You get faster after the workout ends when your body recovers on its own and gets stronger.”

    Although the men’s team graduated a few top runners, Lunn said the team is looking strong. New threats include track standouts John McGowan ’15 and Timothy Hillas ’13. Hillas, who was elected men’s track and field captain at the end of last year, is running cross country for the first time at Yale.

    Additionally, the current senior class, including Lunn and Demetri Goutos ’13, is looking to lead the team in practice and the rankings at meets.

    “We’re a lot more focused than last year,” Cunetta said. “The senior class has set a great example in terms of dedication and commitments. The younger guys have a good group to look up to.”

    For the first time, freshman runners were incorporated into preseason training, and both captains mentioned the strength of the incoming freshman class. Key freshmen to look out for include Emily Stark ’16, who Kayali said may break into the top seven, and Kevin Dooney ’16, the younger brother of former cross country runner Conor Dooney ’12.

    Last season, both the men’s and women’s teams fell short of a ticket to the NCAA National Championships, but this year qualifying for the November meet is a key goal for both teams. In addition to the Paul Short Invitational, both teams will travel to the Wisconsin Invitational to rack up points against ranked cross country programs. This national experience, coupled with a high finish at regionals, may launch the teams to the national championships.

    “If we didn’t think we could compete at the highest level, we wouldn’t be going to Wisconsin,” Cunetta said.

    The Elis will first compete at Fordham Follies and Fiasco on Sept. 8. The annual Yale-Harvard-Princeton meet, earlier than usual this year, will follow at the Yale Golf Course Sept. 14.

  7. CROSS COUNTRY | Runners overcome snow


    In freezing weather conditions late Saturday morning, Yale men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships at Princeton, N.J.

    A downpour of rain turned into snow midway through the men’s 8k race. The women took to the course afterward, and were treated to snow, slush and mud. Despite the conditions, the women, who are in their first season under coach Amy Gosztyla, placed fourth overall, a steep improvement from their 2010 eighth-place finish. The men placed sixth, moving up one slot from last year’s seventh place.

    Liana Epstein ’14 was the first Eli to finish the 5k race, placing seventh overall out of 91 competitors with a time of 22:16. Elizabeth Marvin ’13 finished alongside her teammate two seconds later with a time of 22:18 in eighth place. Nihal Kayali ’13, Melissa Chapman ’14 and Caitlin Hudson ’13 comprised the rest of the five scoring runners for Yale with 19th-, 35th- and 37th-place finishes, respectively.

    “We were expecting the harsh weather conditions,” Marvin said. “Runners from Dartmouth and Cornell, who are used to harsher conditions, handled it better.”

    Indeed, Cornell edged out Columbia by a narrow two-point margin to capture first place, breaking a five-year Princeton winning streak. If any Lions runner had finished one place higher, Columbia would have tied the meet. Princeton came in third, 10 points ahead of Yale.

    Marvin said that while it was disappointing that the women’s team did not do better, they have no regrets. The women’s team has not placed higher since 2006. It last won the title in 2001.

    Throughout the season, Marvin and Epstein have consistently been the top Yale runners. Both earned All-Ivy honors at this race for finishing in the top 14.

    “It was really helpful to run together with Liana the whole race,” Marvin said. On and off the cross country track, the two good friends exemplify their team’s unified mentality.

    In the men’s race, Kevin Lunn ’13 finished first among the Elis for the second consecutive week. His time of 25:25 was good for 13th place overall among 92 total runners. The rest of the top five for Yale included Jacob Saundry ’15, Michael Cunetta ’14, Matthew Thwaites ’13 and Sam Lynch ’12, all of whom finished within 30 seconds of each other and ranged from 32nd to 59th place.

    “Going into the race, I was expecting us to all run close together as a pack and finish with a small spread,” Lunn said. “I was expecting us to place around fifth or sixth.”

    Lunn, who earned second team All-Ivy Honors during this meet, added that, even though he is from California, he enjoyed running in the cold weather conditions.

    Thwaites said that those conditions affected every runner differently, and that some less experienced were able to exceed expectations, while other teammates struggled to adapt.

    “We were expecting to beat Harvard and Penn,” Thwaites said. “Harvard had beaten us pretty bad earlier at a dual meet.”

    The Elis lived up to those expectations despite the absence of top runners Conor Dooney ’12 and Demetri Goutos ’13, and came in ahead of both Harvard and Penn.

    For the past four years, the men’s team had placed seventh or below at Heptagonal Championships. The men last won the championship in 1942.

    Placing sixth on Saturday is a step in the right direction, Thwaites said. The team will retain most of its top runners next year.

    Both the men and women continue their championship season on Nov. 12 at Buffalo, N.Y. for the NCAA Regional Championships.

    “We’ve done a lot in terms of changing the team inside out,” Lynch said. “Judging from the team dynamics, we are heading in the right direction.”

  8. Elis compete at New England Championships

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    The New England Championships races kicked off the season for many Bulldogs on Saturday.

    In the races, held at Boston’s Franklin Park, the men placed 17th out of 46 teams on the 4.95-mile course, while the women placed 16th out of 39 teams on the 5k course.

    “This was a lot of people’s first race after coming back from injury or just first race even, but it was a good starting point,” Lindsey Raymond ’12 said.

    Raymond was the top female Bulldog, placing 38th out of 269 runners with a time of 18:42. (Raymond is a former City editor for the News.)

    Other top-placing female runners included Sarah Barry ’14, who placed 70th, Anne Lovelace ’12, who placed 87th, Madeline Adams ’12, who placed 138th and Samantha Fry ’15, who placed 145th.

    The men’s top two finishers were Ryan Laemel ’14, who placed 16th out of 250 and Julian Sheinbaum ’12, who placed 28th. They were followed by Matthew Nussbaum ’15 and Alec Borsook ’15, who finished 122nd and 127th, respectively. Nussbaum said while the team was not running its top men at the race, it was not “completely satisfied” with the outcome.

    In a pre-meet interview, Laemel mentioned some of his concerns about the race.

    “It’s about how much you can suffer, how much you can deal with the pain, how much you can push through,” Laemel said. “It’s an 8k race; it’s really going to start hurting around the 5k, but you still have two miles to push.”

    Raymond echoed this mentality of cross-country competition after the race.

    “During the race I was in pain, but there were other things I was thinking about, such as race strategies, and making sure I didn’t get caught in the middle.”

    Raymond added that one of the things the team could work on next weekend is pack mentality, as team members were fairly far apart during the race.

    Isa Qasim ’15, who raced for the men’s team, said “pack mentality” is the concept that runners perform better when running with a teammate, as they can encourage each other when pain ensues.

    Compared to the muddy conditions at last week’s Paul Short Invitational, the course conditions of the New England Championships were much better. There was one hill and a few muddy patches, but for the most part, Fry said, the course was dry.

    Both teams are looking forward to better performances later in the season. Laemel said the ultimate goal is to win the Ivy League Championships, which will be held at Princeton. For this reason, Laemel added that next week’s Princeton meet will be more highly prioritized than the New England Championships because it will give the runners a chance to scout out the race course of the Ivy League Championship.

  9. CROSS COUNTRY | Women take sixth in invitational


    Early last Friday morning, the men and women of Yale cross country stomped through the muddy race course of the 38th Annual Paul Short Invitational.

    At the Paul Short, held every year in Bethlehem, Pa., the women Bulldogs placed 6th out of 45 teams on the 6k course. The men, who got 19th out of 45 teams on the 8k course, expressed disappointment with their performance and their small squad size.

    “I am really, really proud of our team. We performed better than what our coach expected,” Elizabeth Marvin ’13 said. Marvin placed 22nd out of 396 total competitors, the highest of any Eli on either team.

    Other standout female runners included Liana Epstein ’14, who finished 23rd, Melissa Chapman ’14, who finished 46th, Nihal Kayali ’13, who finished 53rd, and Caitlin Hudson ’13, who finished 61st.

    The men’s top finishers were Sam Lynch ’12, who placed 68th out of 402 runners, and Kevin Lunn ’13, who placed 90th.

    “I am a little disappointed with the team’s overall performance,” Lunn said. “We wanted to make some noise, but we were missing some key runners.”

    The Bulldogs were competing without their second best runner, among others, Lunn said.

    Lunn added that the muddy race track had slowed them down. The men placed sixth out of the eight Ivy League schools competing, between Cornell at 12th and Princeton at 21st. The Columbia Lions won third place.

    The Yale men’s cross country team started out the season with a third-place finish at the Fordham Invitational but lost to Harvard at the following dual meet on Sept. 17.

    “There are a lot of guys progressing, who showed better racing strategy and faster times, but overall it was not great,” said captain Nathan Richards ’12.

    Richards added that the team needed to develop a “pack mentality” during races and improve their consistency by being healthy and productive “on and off the course.”

    “I will set a good example,” Richards said. “We are going to pull it all together.”

    The women’s team also has a positive outlook for the rest of the season, Marvin said, adding that she thinks the new runners will make a difference.

    Kira Garry ’15, who finished 123rd, and Hannah Alpert ’15, who finished 297th, were the only Yale freshman women to compete at Paul Short.

    “It was definitely a good learning experience for them. This was a huge meet, and a huge transition from high school,” Marvin said.

    The women’s team placed second at the Fordham Invitational, out of 17 teams total, and placed second again the following week at a Harvard-Yale-Princeton showdown. They are currently ranked third in the Northeast, ahead of all the Ivies and behind only Providence and Syracuse.

    The next meet for both teams will be on Oct. 15 at Princeton.

  10. W. CROSS-COUNTRY | Epstein ’14 helps runners break losing streak

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    After finishing last in their annual meet against Harvard and Princeton for the past four years, the women’s cross-country team finally defeated host Harvard, buoyed by a breakout performance by Liana Epstein ’14 on Saturday. The women took second to the nationally ranked Princeton with 36 points compared to the Tigers’ superior 27; Harvard fell far behind the pair with 71 points. On the men’s side, the Bulldogs lost in their competition against Harvard (34 to 23 points), though the Elis had won the meet last year.

    The women showed their strength as a team, nabbing four spots in the top 10. Princeton, with race winner Alex Banfich, took five spots, leaving Harvard with just one. The spread of Yale’s five scoring runners was under 20 seconds, the smallest of all the teams competing.

    “Our absolute goal was to beat Harvard,” women’s head coach Amy Gosztyla said. “We accomplished that, and now we are trying to chip away some more at Princeton.”

    Epstein was the first Bulldog to cross the line, finishing the five-kilometer course in second place (17:39). She passed 10 runners, Gosztyla estimated, in the final mile. This is Epstein’s first race in a Yale uniform, after she battled injuries her freshman year.

    “She’s been training really hard, working in the pool and staying smart,” Millie Chapman ’14 said. “It’s inspiring how amazing she had been and I’m excited to see how much she is improving.”

    Chapman and teammate Elizabeth Marvin ’13 took sixth and seventh in 17:45, and Caitlin Hudson ’13 placed ninth (17:51). Jacque Sahlberg ’13 closed the pack with a 12th-place finish in 17:58.

    Harvard has won five of its last six contests against the men’s cross-country team. According to Demetri Goutos ’13, the men’s team managed to work together and pack up more than they had in the past, lending each other encouragement throughout the meet. Ultimately, Goutos said they were too conservative.

    “We let [Harvard] get a little bit too far ahead in the beginning,” Goutos said. “It was tough to catch up.”

    For the second week in a row, Sam Lynch ’12 was the first Bulldog to finish, placing third overall (24:29). Conor Dooney ’12 was right behind, taking fourth (24:35). Goutos (24:48), Sam Kirtner ’13 (24:52) and Kevin Lunn ’13 (25:27) rounded up the group in seventh, eighth and 14th, respectively.

    The Bulldogs have a week off before their next competition. On Sept. 30, they will join the rest of the Ivy League and other Division I schools in the Paul Short Invitational.

  11. CROSS COUNTRY | 1-2 finish for women

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    At the inaugural cross country meet of the season Saturday, the Fordham Follies and Fiasco Invitational, Melissa Chapman ’14 won the individual title, besting competition from 16 other schools, including the No. 15 Princeton Tigers.

    It was the first time in three years that the women’s cross country team boasted a top finisher and the first time in five against Ivy competition. Jacque Sahlberg ’13 finished in second to give the Bulldogs the one-two finish.

    The results of the meet, the first for new head coaches Amy Gosztyla and Paul Harkin, bode well for future Ivy play.

    Chapman led the women’s team to a second-place finish with 43 points, ahead of Penn (96 points) but behind, if narrowly, the defending Ivy champion, Princeton (34 points). The men’s team also competed strongly — taking third place with 88 points, 58 points ahead of the next finisher, the Quakers, who tallied 146 points. Princeton (26 points) took first place and Navy (41 points) placed second.

    On the women’s side, Chapman finished the 5-kilometer course in 18:03.63. Sahlberg came in seven seconds later with a time of 18:10.52. Kira Garry ’15 (18:32:00) followed with a 10th-place finish, and Elizabeth Marvin ’13 (18:47.10) and Caitlin Hudson ’13 (18.47.86) took 16th and 17th, respectively.

    According to Sahlberg, the team stayed in a pack for the first two miles, saving a final push for the end of the race. She added that Gosztyla encouraged them to go into the meet with confidence.

    “[The meet] was a great way to start the season for sure,” Sahlberg said. “It takes a little bit of luck, a lot of work and good direction.”

    For the men, Sam Lynch ’12 was the top Yale finisher, completing the five miles in 26:08.39, ninth overall. Conor Dooney ’12 (26:11.94) and Demetri Goutos ’13 (26:17.46) were close behind, followed by Sam Kirtner ’13 (26:48.52) and Matthew Thwaites ’13 (26:50.22).

    As did Gosztyla, Harkin suggested a conservative strategy for the men. The team spent the first two miles in a tight pack and focused on rolling up on the larger group to close out the race. Harkin has also continually stressed injury prevention and recovery, issues that have plagued the team in the past.

    “[Harkin’s] a very good fit for us,” Michael Cunetta ’14 said. “Knock on wood, everyone’s going to make it to the end in very good shape.”

    In honor of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Bulldogs and other participants wore yellow commemorative ribbons produced by members of the Fordham team.

    The Bulldogs’ next race is at Harvard on Sept. 17. The women will compete against Harvard and Princeton, while the men will see if they can best the Crimson for the second year in a row.

    “It’s unusual for [the meet] to be this early in the season,” Cunetta said. “We’re not in the best shape we will be in — we’re still building up. But we definitely take this meet very seriously.”