November 12, 2011

Bulldogs End Season at Regionals

Lunn Leads Team Again

AMHERST, N.Y. – In what was their final meet of the season, the Yale men's cross country team equaled last year's result by notching an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Northeast Region Championship. Yale's tally of 386 total points placed it in the top third of the 33 participating teams.

Junior Kevin Lunn paced the Elis for the third consecutive meet, covering the ten-kilometer course in 32:58.2 and nabbing 68th place. As they often have this season, the Bulldogs ran in tight formation, with their five scoring runners separated by a span of less than 30 seconds. Lunn was followed hotly by senior captain Nathan Richards (72nd – 33:02.4), along with junior Matthew Thwaites (76th – 33:09.5), freshman Jacob Sandry (77th – 33:14.8) and senior Julian Sheinbaum (93rd – 33:27.7).

Facing a strong headwind, the Bulldogs went out aggressively, which head coach Paul Harkins thought may have hurt them in the end.

"I didn't really want anyone to be in the front of the pack early into the wind and because of that, I think a couple of the guys suffered a little bit during the middle," said Harkins.

Nonetheless, Harkins felt that his team ran tough, and was particularly pleased with the performance of his captain, Richards. For Richards and Sheinbaum, it was their last cross country race wearing the Yale blue and white.

"In terms of it being our last race, it was an okay race for everyone. There wasn't anyone who ran a standout race, but we did run as a team," said Richards. "It was a nice wrap up to end at NCAA Regionals, though we would've liked to go to Nationals."

No. 29 Syracuse (54 points) upset No. 9 Iona (72 points) to take home the team title, but both teams will receive automatic invitations to the NCAA Championship. Meanwhile, No. 22 Columbia (96 points), No. 30 Providence (108 points), Brown (178 points) and Dartmouth (182 points) all are holding out hope for one of 13 national at-large bids. The Ivy League showcased its muscle, with all entrants finishing in the front half of the field.

In summing up Yale's season, Richards mentioned that the team had gelled under Harkins' leadership and had shown substantial improvement. In specific, he noted the team's finishing one spot higher at Heps this year, indicating progress but also leaving room for improvement.

Harkins remains optimistic as the team transitions to track and field, and looks forward to seeing what his team is capable of achieving.

"There are a lot of positives to build on heading into track season and next year," he said. "I'm very excited to work with these guys this winter and spring, continue to build consistency and confidence with the men, and then come back here next year and aim for a top five or six finish."

Full race results are available here.

Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity