Chance to Step into National Spotlight at Preeminent Meet
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – This Friday the Bulldogs are bound for Madison, Wisc., where they will be faced with their toughest test of the year. The Wisconsin Adidas Invitational, now in its fourth year, has emerged as one of the nation's premier meets, and probably the most competitive race other than the National Championships. This year's field features 46 teams from across the country, 20 of which are nationally ranked.
Among the top-10 teams in attendance will be No. 1 Wisconsin, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 5(t) Iona, No. 5(t) Portland, No. 8 Stanford and No. 10 Syracuse. All Ivy League schools except for Penn will also be making the trip to compete on the world-class Thomas Zimmer Cross Country Championship Course.
Thanks to a slew of standout performances at last weekend's New England Championships, setting a lineup for this weekend was no easy task for coach Paul Harkins. The seven chosen to make the trip are: freshman Kevin Dooney, senior Demetri Goutos, senior Timothy Hillas, senior captain Kevin Lunn, sophomore John McGowan, sophomore Matthew Nussbaum and sophomore Jacob Sandry. With the exception of Sandry, all those traveling were given last week off in order to rest and prepare for what awaits in Madison.
This will be the Elis' first time at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational and will offer the team a chance to measure itself against the nation's best. Harkins has stated that the long-term objective is to develop an elite program, which may only be accomplished by racing against other top-tier teams.
"Our overarching goals are to build the program to the level where we will be qualifying for the NCAA Championships on a regular basis, so this meet will provide us with a good idea of if we are close to that level and what we will need to work on if we aren't there yet," said Harkins.
If the team is able to knock off a few ranked teams this Friday, Harkins has indicated that an at-large berth to the National Championships is not out of the question.
"Our goal for the weekend is to beat some ranked teams and finish in the top 20," he said. "The guys have started to gain a little bit of confidence in their last couple of races, so carrying that confidence into Wisconsin will be integral to our success."
The team will fly out of LaGuardia International Airport on Thursday morning in order to arrive with time to survey the course and get a full night's rest. The men's race is scheduled to begin at 12:40 p.m. on Friday. Additional information is available on the meet website and results will be posted there and on www.yalebulldogs.com.
Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity