September 8, 2012

Bulldogs Open Season in Grand Fashion at Fordham

Nussbaum Leads Team to Victory and Near Sweep

BRONX, N.Y. – In the opening meet of the season, the Elis turned in a dominant performance at the Fordham Fiasco, running away with the Division I team title by claiming six of the top seven spots for only 18 total points. The race featured six Division I teams and 13 Division II and III teams, with Yale topping them all. Though impressive individual results abounded, the Bulldogs were ignited by the emergence of sophomore Matthew Nussbaum, who won the race in a personal-record time of 26:10.53.

Senior captain Kevin Lunn crossed the line just after Nussbaum, taking 2nd place in 26:12.90, nearly a full minute faster than his time at this meet last year. Freshman Kevin Dooney, with his 4th-place effort, was the meet's top-performing rookie (26:24.70). Also making his debut was senior Timothy Hillas, the captain of the track and field team, who finished 5th (26:27.62) in the first cross country race of his life. Sophomore Jacob Sandry was the final scorer for Yale, placing 6th (26:30.13) in a time more than three minutes faster than what he ran at the course at Van Cortlandt Park last year.

Completing the Yale front seven were senior Demetri Goutos (7th – 26:32.84) and sophomore John McGowan (10th – 26:55.23). The Bulldogs' depth was on full display, as a full half of the first 30 runners wore the Eli blue. After Yale's 18 points, the next closest team was Fordham with 64 team points.

Coach Paul Harkins instructed his team to take the first half of the race at a tempo pace, and then to increase their speed gradually as they neared the home stretch. He was extremely pleased with the outcome.

"Aside from being a little slow at the [first] mile…they executed the race plan perfectly," he said.

Harkins was especially impressed by Nussbaum, who put in hard work over the summer after his freshman season was slowed by illness.

"Matt showed that he is extremely capable of being a fantastic Division I cross country runner," said Harkins.

Based on their times, the Bulldogs appear much stronger than they did at this point last year, especially given that their cautious race strategy probably prevented them from performing to their potential. Harkins acknowledged as much, and felt this first outing bodes well for the remainder of the year.

"The goal is to make consistent, steady progress from week to week," he said. "If we can do that, I think we'll be poised to make a big jump come Heps and Regionals."

The Elis will next compete at home on Friday Sept. 8 against Harvard.

Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity

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