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Bulldogs Run with Nation’s Best at Pre-National Invitational

Duncan Tomlin and Kevin Dooney. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Duncan Tomlin and Kevin Dooney. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Elis Improve on 2013 Showing in Indiana

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale men's cross country team sent its top seven runners to the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, and it left Saturday's race with plenty to be pleased with. Competing alongside many of the country's most accomplished programs (including eight schools ranked in the most recent USTFCCCA top 30 poll), the Bulldogs finished 15th overall with 465 points. This marks a notable improvement from when the Elis finished 23rd with 668 points at last year's Pre-National meet.

Impressively, Yale finished just 11 points behind 13th-place NC State, ranked 27th in the nation, on Saturday. As the top two programs in the country, respectively, Colorado (35 points) and Oregon (91 points) unsurprisingly finished first and second in Saturday's meet. The Elis will also be happy to have finished well above 21st-ranked Southern Utah, who placed 34th overall. The race was held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, the same course that hosts the Division I NCAA Championships later this year.

Just as he had in his first two races of the season, star junior Kevin Dooney led the team on Saturday, finishing 27th overall with a time of 24:48.4. Dooney represented Yale well at the top of the leaderboard, finishing just behind Texas' second-fastest runner and just ahead of Georgetown's second-fastest. The Dublin, Ireland, native cruised through the race's first 3,000 meters, ending that portion of the race in 14th place. He fell a bit further back in the pack during the ensuing 2,000 meters before closing strong to seal his 27th-place finish.

Yale's top five in Indiana was the same in no particular order as its top five in the previous two races in which it has entered its top seven this season. Duncan Tomlin continued the impressive start to his season, finishing second on the team with a time of 25:08.6. The junior finished 56th overall and has really come on strong since placing third on the team at the Division I NCAA Northeast Regional Championships last year. Tomlin improved as Saturday's race went on: in just 85th place after 2,000 meters, he had moved up to 62nd by the end of the next 3,000 meters. Meanwhile, after placing fourth on the team in his previous two races, sophomore James Randon was the third-fastest Bulldog on Saturday, finishing in 25:23.2 to take 89th overall and become the third and final Yale runner to crack the overall top 100. Senior John McGowan (25:43.8) was the next Eli to cross the finish line. The team captain had a hot start on Saturday, ending the race's first 2,000 meters in 82nd place (ahead of Tomlin). Finally, freshman Cameron Stanish (25:48.5) rounded out the team's top five, finishing just 13 spots behind McGowan and continuing what has been a tremendous start to his collegiate career.

Stanish was followed less than two seconds later by fellow freshman Adam Houston (25:50.3). After finishing eighth on the team against Harvard and Princeton in the team's season opener, Houston has progressed greatly and appears to now be well established in Yale's top seven. Sophomore Andre Ivankovic (26:28.9) was the final Yale runner to finish on Saturday.

With the prestigious Pre-National Invitational now in their rearview mirror, the Bulldogs have just one meet separating them from the postseason. The Elis will make the short trip to New Britain, Conn., to compete at the CCSU Mini Meet next Friday, Oct. 24.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity