October 27, 2011

Men's Cross Country to Compete at Ivy League Championships

Team Hopes to Contend for a High Finish in Season's Main Event

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's cross country team will join the other members of the Ancient Eight at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships this Saturday at Princeton. For the Elis, this marks a return to the course upon which they ran their best race of the season two weeks ago. This time, though, the stakes have been raised.

The team's performance at Heps is traditionally considered a gauge of the overall success of the season. Still riding the momentum from their impressive showing at the Princeton Invitational, the Bulldogs are poised to rise to the occasion. The team hopes to replicate the tight grouping that produced their strong result last time at Princeton, when a span of only 11 seconds separated the top five Elis across the line.

Despite what is sure to be a strong field that will include two nationally ranked teams in Princeton (ninth) and Columbia (28th), head cross country coach Paul Harkins is optimistic about his team's chances.

"I expect the guys to come out and run with confidence and a belief that they can compete with anyone," said Harkins. "I know that if they compete with confidence and an expectation to beat some people, they will reach their goal to significantly improve upon where they finished a year ago [in seventh place]."

On paper, that goal looks wholly attainable this weekend. After Princeton and Columbia, the race appears to be a wide-open affair between Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn and Yale.

Yale will be looking to its top performers, seniors Conor Dooney and Sam Lynch, to lead the way, and will be relying on the leadership of senior captain Nathan Richards. Junior Kevin Lunn, who was Yale's first finisher at the Princeton Invitational, will also be in the mix, along with junior Sam Kirtner. Also representing Yale will be sophomore Michael Cunetta, sophomore Ryan Laemel, freshman John McGowan, sophomore Miles Richardson, freshman Jacob Sandry, senior Julian Sheinbaum and junior Matthew Thwaites.

Harkins, currently in his first year at Yale, has been to Heps once before and is excited to return.

"Because of the rivalries and the history, the competing teams focus most of their season around this meet," said Harkins. "It's an amazing cross country experience to be a part of, and I cannot wait to see our guys compete with tremendous heart in front of their fans, family and alumni!"

The men's 8k race is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. Results will be posted here, and will also be available at www.yalebulldogs.com. Ivy League Sports will also be running a live blog feed, available here.

Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity

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